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Smith, Joseph Earn Nods on NFL Network's Top 100 List

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — A pair of Vikings have cracked NFL Network's "Top 100 Players of 2016."

Safety Harrison Smith was voted in at No. 73 while defensive tackle Linval Joseph was listed at No. 76 in Wednesday night's show, which highlighted players 71 through 80.

Both Vikings made their first appearance on the annual list, which is voted on by players across the NFL.

Smith made his first Pro Bowl appearance in 2015 after he recorded 87 tackles (56 solo), six quarterback hurries, three tackles for loss, two interceptions, 1.5 sacks and one forced fumble. 

The 27-year-old said he didn't fret on whether or not he was going to make the list.

"It's nice to get that kind of respect from guys around the league," said Smith, one of eight safeties on the list. "Ultimately to me … if it's more success for us then that's all I'm shooting for.

"All that other stuff is nice but it doesn't equate to wins," Smith added.

Joseph played 12 games in his second season with the Vikings, finishing with 71 tackles (43 solo), eight tackles for loss, 26 quarterback hurries and 0.5 sacks.

"Everybody talks about it and hopes they're on there," Joseph said. "It's an honor to be on there.

"I'm just grateful to be on the list, to be honest with you," he added. "I missed a couple games so I'm just happy to be acknowledged for something I did last year."

Since entering the league in 2012, Smith is one of just two players – the other being Dolphins safety Reshad Jones – to record at least 12 interceptions and 5.0 sacks.

His teammates certainly took notice of his strong play as cornerback Captain Munnerlyn, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, wide receiver Stefon Diggs and Joseph spoke about 'Harry the Hitman' on the show.

"I get a chance to be in meetings with him each and every day and he's a straight baller," Munnerlyn said. "I feel like he's been deserving to be on this list.

"The things he does on the field are unbelievable," Munnerlyn added.

Said Diggs: "One of the smartest safeties probably in the game right now just as far as what he can do (with) being in the right place at the right time." 

Munnerlyn and Smith heaped praise on Joseph, as did tight end Kyle Rudolph, linebacker Anthony Barr.

"I think he's the best player on our team to be honest," Barr said.

Bears offensive lineman Kyle Long, who goes against the mammoth Joseph twice a year, said Joseph opened plenty of eyes in 2015.

"Linval Joseph is a guy who I don't think has had enough credit given to him in the last few years," Long said. "But this year I think he made it undeniable that he's one of the top interior defensive players in the league.

"He's a hell of a player and they're lucky to have him," Long added. 

NFL Network released its list of players 81-100 in recent weeks.

Wednesday night's list began at No. 80 with Kansas City linebacker Derrick Johnson, followed by Carolina offensive lineman Ryan Kalil, the older brother of Vikings left tackle Matt Kalil.

Jacksonville running back Chris Ivory landed at No. 78 before Washington tight end Jordan Reed, Joseph and Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles made the list.

Denver wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders came in at No. 74 before Smith, Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin and Arizona defensive end Calais Campbell rounded out the list.

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