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Lunchbreak: Vikings Secondary Will Be Tested in Final 7 Games

View exclusive images shot by Vikings team photographer Andy Kenutis as the Vikings and Chiefs competed against each other at Arrowhead Stadium.

Through nine games, the Vikings defense ranks seventh in the NFL by allowing 225.1 passing yards per game.

That elevated ranking has come with five games against high-caliber passers such as Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, Derek Carr, Carson Wentz and Matthew Stafford.

But there are plenty of challenges left on the final seven games of the schedule, as Matthew Coller of SKOR North noted that Minnesota’s secondary will be tested against plenty of stout competition in the next two months.

Coller recently took a look at the play of Minnesota’s starting cornerbacks and wrote about the grades that Pro Football Focus has given Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes so far in 2019.

Overall, Pro Football Focus grades them the 62nd and 70th of 79 corners in the NFL. In terms of rating against, Waynes is 53rd and Rhodes [is] 71st.

Opponents have especially gone after Waynes this season, targeting him the fourth most of any corner in the NFL.

While Minnesota’s strong overall play against the pass has helped the Vikings get to 6-3 at this point, Coller said there are plenty of tests that remain.

In Week 10, the Vikings will see Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, who currently ranks eighth in the NFL with a passer rating of 102.5.

Minnesota plays Seattle’s Russell Wilson in Week 13; his passer rating of 118.2 currently leads the league.

Throw in Chargers veteran quarterback Philip Rivers, plus Rodgers (his 104.3 passer rating ranks seventh in the NFL) and Stafford (his 106.0 passer rating ranks fifth), and the Vikings will see plenty of formidable foes as a push for the playoffs heats up.

Coller said the Vikings have the potential to get the job done against the strong competition, but he noted it will take a group effort from everyone in the secondary.

Coller wrote:

Outside of the two starting corners, the Vikings defenders have largely been effective in pass coverage. When throwing against Harrison Smith, opposing QBs have a 53.3 rating and 72.8 rating when targeting Anthony Harris. Linebacker Eric Kendricks has 10 passes defended and the highest coverage grade from PFF in the NFL.

With Dak Prescott, Matthew Stafford, Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers on the slate, the Vikings will have a difficult time slowing down passing attacks if they do not get better performances out of the starting corners.

Harris leads the Vikings with three interceptions.

Browner, White among Vikings selected to Hall of Very Good

It’s a dream for anyone who plays in the NFL to one day be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

But among the thousands of players who have suited up in the league, only 326 have received the prestigious honor of making it to Canton, Ohio.

That means there are still hundreds and hundreds of players who had very successful NFL careers but have not been enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

A handful of such players, including multiple Vikings, were recently inducted into the Hall of Very Good, which was created in 2003 by the Pro Football Researchers Association (PFRA). The organization’s goal is to honor those not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame who still deserve recognition.

Vikings Legends Joey Browner, Roger Craig, Art Powell and Ed White are members of the 2019 class, the PFRA announced this week.

Browner, a safety who was inducted into the Vikings Ring of Honor in 2003, played nine seasons in Purple. He appeared in six straight Pro Bowls from 1985-1990, was a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team in the 1980s and played in 138 games with the Vikings.

Browner’s 18 career forced fumbles are the most by a Vikings defensive back, and his 37 career interceptions rank fourth in team history.

Browner was named one of the 50 Greatest Vikings, as was White, a guard who was with the Vikings from 1969-1977. White made three Pro Bowls with Minnesota before making another one with the Chargers, where he played the final eight seasons of his career.

White played in 241 career games, and he played in all four Super Bowls with the Vikings.

Craig played the final two seasons of his 11-year career with the Vikings. He rushed for 8,189 career yards with 56 touchdowns. Craig won three Super Bowls while with the 49ers.

Powell, a wide receiver, spent the 1968 season with the Vikings, which was the final year of his 10-season career.

Other Vikings in the Hall of Very Good include Carl Eller, Chuck Foreman, Jim Marshall, Mick Tingelhoff and assistant coach Maxie Baughan (Eller and Tingelhoff were chosen before they were each respectively elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame).

The rest of the 2019 class included former Chiefs safety Deron Cherry, running back Abner Hayes, former Washington tackle Joe Jacoby and former Cowboys cornerback Everson Walls. I just changed this so you didn’t have recognize and recognition in the same sentence.

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