2 Vikings reach PFF Top 50 in 2022

June 9, 2021; Minnesota Vikings helmets on the floor at OTA at the TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Before NFL training camps heat up last week, Focus on professional football announced his The 50 best players in the league of 2022, and the Minnesota Vikings made up 2% of the roster.

Last year, Minnesota was represented by Three players, but safety Harrison Smith and linebacker Eric Kendricks didn’t make the cut in 2022.

These two Vikings are the main event of this season, according to FPF.

Justin Jefferson

Rank = #17
2021 PFF score = 90.1

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January 3, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports.

Jefferson made headlines last week saying he’s “not much into money,” music to Vikings fans’ ears as contract negotiations next spring are expected to be melodramatic. But do not get me wrong. Jefferson will be very wealthy when his next contract kicks in in early 2025.

In 2021, Jefferson was the fourth-best WR in the NFL by PFF, ranking behind Cooper Kupp, Davante Adams and Deebo Samuel. He’s heading into his third year as a pro, this time on a Vikings offense that could respond even more to his skill set. With Mike Zimmer in charge in 2020 and 2021, Jefferson was the most targeted player in NFL history via pass attempts in a player’s first two seasons. With the NFL’s shift to passing happiness, Jefferson should feel even more love in new head coach Kevin O’Connell’s offense. That’s why pundits are casting the LSU alum as the ‘Cooper Kupp role’ this season, predicting a massive increase in Jefferson’s goal. O’Connell helped Kupp get the most attention in Los Angeles, and he may well do the same for Jefferson in Minnesota.

Jefferson recorded 3,016 receiving yards in his first two seasons — the most in two seasons by a player. His 17 receiving touchdowns are fifth all-time in the same metric.

Dalvin Cook

Rating = #37
2021 PFF score = 65.8

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Jul 30, 2021; Eagan, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) and running back Alexander Mattison. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Placement of the cook on the PFF list proves that rankings are not simply a copy-paste of PFF the notes. Why? Well, as far as ratings go, Cook’s 65.8 was the lowest of his career, 42nd best among 2021 running backs.

Whispers in May suggested the Vikings could use Cook in a Le’Veon Bell-esque sleight-of-hand role in 2017. The tease had fantasy football managers salivating and sparked interest from Vikings fans. In 2019, when Kevin Stefanski was in charge of offense, Cook had 53 receptions and 519 receiving yards. But Minnesota oddly reduced Cook’s role in the passing offense after Stefanski took the heavy lifting in Cleveland.

Now, however, RB-WR Cook could be back on the menu. He’s a tremendous asset in open spaces, so Cook’s passing role could improve his productivity.

Since the start of 2019, Cook ranks second in the NFL via scrimmage yards (4,955), trailing Derrick Henry by 23 yards. Over his five-season career, Cook averaged 112.8 scrimmage yards per game.

Former Viking Stefon Diggs checked in at No. 39 on the PFF listing. He embarks for the third year in Buffalo. Aaron Donald was considered the best player in the league.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube channel, VikesNow. He host a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, airing every Wednesday with Raun Saw and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Guilty pleasures listed: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, “The Sopranos” and The Doors (the band).

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