How Do Current and Former Vikings Factor Into SI's "Position U" Series?

Will Ragatz

On Monday, Sports Illustrated wrapped up its Position U series, which used a statistical formula to determine the college program that has produced the most talent at each position since 2010.

Here's a look at the results, with notes on how current and former Vikings played a role in the rankings. The formula used by SI's Reid Foster and Gary Gramling gives points based on draft position, NFL starts, and achievements like making the All-Pro team (but not the Pro Bowl, which is a flawed measure).

Quarterback U: Oklahoma

Full story here, including the details on the scoring system.

1. Oklahoma, 28 points
2. Florida State, 20
3(tie). Auburn, 17
3(tie). Louisville, 17
5(tie). Texas A&M, 14
5(tie). USC, 14
7(tie). Baylor, 12
7(tie). N.C. State, 12
7(tie). Texas Tech, 12
10(tie). Missouri, 11
10(tie). Oklahoma State, 11
10(tie). Stanford, 11

Vikings notes:

  • Former Vikings QB Sam Bradford (11 points) got Oklahoma off to a strong start at the beginning of the decade by going No. 1 overall to the Rams. Bradford started 15 games for the Vikings in 2016, but his career was heavily affected by a number of injuries. Oklahoma also has the last two No. 1 overall picks in Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray.
  • The Vikings also played a major role in two of the other top finishers. They drafted Christian Ponder (FSU) and Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville) in the first round in 2011 and 2014, respectively. Both contributed six points to their schools.

Running Back U: Alabama

Full story here.

1. Alabama, 50 points
2. Georgia, 34
3. LSU, 30
4. Oklahoma, 29
5. Stanford, 24
6. Auburn, 22
7. Ohio State, 21
8(tie). Miami, 19
8(tie). Wisconsin, 19
10. Oregon, 18

Vikings notes:

  • The Vikings only drafted four running backs in the 2010s: Toby Gerhart, Jerick McKinnon, Dalvin Cook, and Alexander Mattison. Of that group, only Gerhart's alma mater (Stanford) cracks the top ten, in large part thanks to Christian McCaffrey.
  • Mattison, along with Doug Martin and Jay Ajayi, helped Boise State finish 12th in the rankings, which is impressive for a non-Power 5 school.

Wide Receiver U: Clemson

Full story here.

1. Clemson, 54 points
2. Ohio State, 46
3. LSU, 40
4. Alabama, 36
5. Georgia, 35
6(tie). Baylor, 33
6(tie). USC, 33
8. Notre Dame, 30
9(tie). Oklahoma, 27
9(tie). Tennessee, 27

Vikings notes:

  • Only one Vikings draft pick factored into these rankings, with Tennessee's Cordarrelle Patterson providing 15 points (thanks to his three First Team All-Pro selections as a kick returner) to help his school sneak into the top ten.

Tight End U: Stanford

Full story here.

1. Stanford, 33 points
2. Miami, 30
3. Iowa, 29
4. Notre Dame, 26
5(tie). Oklahoma, 20
5(tie). USC, 20
7(tie). Arkansas, 16
7(tie). Penn State, 16
9(tie). Alabama, 14
9(tie). Wisconsin, 14

Vikings notes:

  • Kyle Rudolph played a major role in getting Notre Dame into the top four. He provided seven of the Irish's 26 points, just ahead of Tyler Eifert's six.
  • 2019 second-round pick Irv Smith Jr. contributed four points to Alabama, helping them crack the top ten.
  • You may not remember the name Mickey Shuler Jr., but the Vikings took him in the seventh round in 2010, which is a point for Penn State.

Offensive Line U: Notre Dame

Full story here.

1. Notre Dame, 69 points
2. Wisconsin, 68
3. Florida, 66
4. Alabama, 56
5. Ohio State, 54
6. USC, 51
7. Oklahoma, 49
8. Iowa, 44
9. Texas A&M, 41
10. Stanford, 38

Vikings notes:

  • Matt Kalil, who the Vikings took No. 4 overall in 2012, contributed nine points for USC, second only to Tyron Smith's 15.
  • Current Vikings left tackle and former Lions first-round pick Riley Reiff chipped in eight points for Iowa, helping them get into the top ten.
  • The Vikings factor into the top ten in a number of other minor ways, with Dru Samia (Oklahoma 2019), Pat Elflein (Ohio State 2017), Austin Shepherd (Alabama 2015), Tyrus Thompson (Oklahoma 2015), and David Yankey (Stanford 2014) earning points for their schools.
  • Vikings draft picks Brian O'Neill and TJ Clemmings couldn't get Pittsburgh into the top ten.

Linebacker U: Alabama

Full story here.

1. Alabama, 47 points
2. LSU, 44
3. Penn State, 42
4(tie). Boston College, 40
4(tie). UCLA, 40
6. Florida, 33
7. Washington, 28
8. Georgia, 27
9. Florida State, 25
10. Ohio State, 24

Vikings notes:

  • UCLA's 40 points and top-five finish have a LOT to do with the Vikings' duo of Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr. Each was worth nine points, making up nearly half of the Bruins' score.
  • The Vikings took two Penn State linebackers in the 2013 draft in Gerald Hodges and Michael Mauti. PSU was carried by Navorro Bowman and Sean Lee, but Hodges and Mauti helped them crack the top three.
  • 2011 sixth-rounder Ross Homan got a point for Ohio State.

Defensive Line U: Alabama

Full story here.

1. Alabama, 85 points
2. Clemson, 73
3. Georgia, 65
4. Ohio State, 62
5. LSU, 51
6(tie). Florida, 49
6(tie). Wisconsin, 49
8. USC, 44
9(tie). Mississippi State, 42
9(tie). Pittsburgh, 42

Vikings notes:

  • Everson Griffen (USC), Sharrif Floyd (Florida), and Danielle Hunter (LSU) each contributed six points, helping their school make the top ten.
  • Jalyn Holmes chipped in a point for Ohio State.

Defensive Back U: LSU

Full story here.

1. LSU, 103 points
2. Alabama, 96
3. Florida, 71
4. Florida State, 66
5. Ohio State, 59
6. Virginia Tech, 49
7. Washington, 48
8. Texas, 47
9. Clemson, 42
10. South Carolina, 41

Vikings notes:

  • Xavier Rhodes contributed 11 points to Florida State, helping his school finish fourth (and second behind only LSU when looking at just the cornerback position).
  • Harrison Smith has also been worth 11 points, but Notre Dame doesn't have enough other DB contributions (Robert Blanton's four points only go so far) to make the list.
  • Four points from Mackensie Alexander and three from Jayron Kearse helped Clemson sneak onto the list.
  • Kris Boyd snagged a point for Texas.
  • The Vikings leaned on Virginia (Chris Cook, Anthony Harris), UCF (Josh Robinson, Mike Hughes), and Notre Dame (Smith, Blanton) for DB talent, but none of those schools made the top ten.

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