Heading into the 2022 NFL season, Pro Football Focus has ranked the rosters of all 32 NFL teams.
The Vikings check in outside the top half of the list at 19th.
In the explanation, PFF listed Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen as the biggest strength on the Vikings' roster, citing Jefferson's overall dominance and Thielen's red zone effectiveness.
As for the Vikings' biggest weakness, it's once again the offensive line.
As has been the case for several years now, it's hard to feel all that confident about Minnesota's offensive line heading into the 2022 season. It finished last season ranked 27th as a unit in PFF pass-blocking grade, and it is expected to return the majority of that group. Maybe Christian Darrisaw takes a step forward in his second season out of Virginia Tech, and perhaps players such as Ezra Cleveland and Garrett Bradbury do too. That's a lot of “ifs” though.
Lastly, PFF listed Za'Darius Smith as the Vikings' "x-factor."
Across his first two seasons in Green Bay, Smith recorded 144 total pressures (fourth in the NFL) with PFF pass-rushing grades above 85.0 in both seasons. However, he played just 18 snaps in 2021 before his season was cut short by back surgery. It remains to be seen if the soon-to-be 30-year-old can get back to his pre-injury form in Minnesota.
My two cents: this ranking feels low to me, although I understand it. It's hard to disagree too strongly with a team that went 15-18 over the last two seasons with a largely similar roster not cracking the top half of the league in a ranking like this.
Still, I think the Vikings have more on-paper roster talent than they get credit for by being 19th on this list. A lot of it comes down to health and projecting various young players to improve, but there's talent across the board in Minnesota. They've got a solid quarterback, a loaded skill positions group, and an offensive line that at least has some promising young players and veteran depth now. I don't think it'll be a great offensive line, especially since Garrett Bradbury is still the center, but I don't think it'll be a bad one, either. Somewhere in the middle of the pack seems like a reasonable projection, which would go a long way for the outlook of the entire offense.
Defensively, there are playmakers everywhere. The defensive front should be really stout if Hunter and Smith stay healthy, with Dalvin Tomlinson and Harrison Phillips stopping the run in the middle. Eric Kendricks and Jordan Hicks is a good inside linebacker duo, and Harrison Smith and Lewis Cine/Camryn Bynum should be plenty good enough at safety. The big question is at cornerback, but with Patrick Peterson, Cameron Dantzler, and Andrew Booth Jr., there's some upside there.
Again, I understand why the Vikings were ranked 19th and can't argue with it too much. But I do think that placement underrates their roster talent a bit. I would have them somewhere in the 13-16 range, probably.
We'll see how it plays out when they take the field this fall.
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