Active Vikings Players Best Of All-Time
I thought this would make for an interesting thread. Which current player warrant a a consideration as the Vikings' greatest player throughout history at his position, or even the all-time greatest throughout the whole league's history?
The two first players that come into mind is RB Adrian Peterson and DE Jared Allen.
Adrian Peterson as Vikings greatest running back of all-time: Yes, definitely.
In Adrian Peterson's case, the question is not even worth to be up to discussion after last year's "MVP 9-yards-shy-of-single-season-rushing-record" season. What further helps his case is that the Vikings don't have a very proud history at the running back position to give him strong competition. Adrian is statistically already light-years in front of previous Vikings running backs.
Adrian Peterson as NFL's greatest running back of all-time: No, but getting there.
Peterson is already among the top 5 running backs of all-time. How can you argue against the single game rushing record holder and the single season rushing 2nd place record holder?
People who try to argue against Peterson will bring up the career rushing yard list where Emmitt Smith is the all-time leader in career rushing yards, but lets be honest here! Who would you rather have on your team for one game or one season; Adrian Peterson or Emmit Smith? Emmit Smith was lucky to play on a superb offense and to stay healthy for such a long time. The career rushing yard list not a good way to crown the best running back in my opinion.
It's uncertain how long Adrian Peterson will stay elite. Heck, there's a chance he's only halfway throughout his career. Peterson is 28 years old now and might play until he's 34 years old. Emmit Smith was effective until he retired at 35. What's positive is that from physical tests, Peterson's body seems to be physically much younger than his current age, and definitely considering how much work he has put on the field.
Jared Allen as Vikings greatest defensive end of all-time: No, but getting there.
In strong contrast to Adrian Peterson, Jared Allen has fierce competition in this category. The Vikings might have the most impressive history of defensive lineman than any other team in history. We have two Hall of Fame defensive ends in Carl Eller and Chris Doleman, plus Jim Marshall who might be just as good as the aforementioned. Thus, crowning Jared Allen the best Vikings DE will immediately put him in the discussion of being the greatest of all-time.
After the 2012 season, Allen has 117 career sacks which places him at number 16 on the all-time list. If Allen average 15 sacks per season (Allen's average over the past 6 seasons) for three more seasons, Allen will be 3rd on the all-time list behind only Reggie White and Bruce Smith.
Allen is not the Vikings' all-time best defensive end yet, but if Allen plays another 3 or 4 years at the same level then it would be hard to argue otherwise. He's "only" 30 years old so it's a realistic scenario. The thing is, when you look at Allen's sack numbers, you'll see that he's improving season after season since his freshman year in college. Remember that Jared Allen practically broke the singe season sack record just two years ago.
- - - - -
Are there other active players who warrant a consideration?
Percy Harvin, albeit no longer with the team, makes a strong case for the best Vikings returner of all-time. Actually, I would say he is the best kick returner the Vikings have ever had. Harvin holds the Vikings record with 3 career KO returns and very rarely get negative yards. He might be the best returner currently in the league right now.
When speaking of pure tackling, Chad Greenway is moving up the Vikings' all-time list pretty fast.
Just take a look at his last three seasons:
2010 - 4th most tackles in the NFL
2011 - 3rd most tackles in the NFL.
2012 - 2nd most tackles in the NFL.
However, as a linebacker he's far from beating the great Scott Studwell.
Blair Walsh had arguably the best season a kicker has ever had, but the fact that he was a rookie makes him simply ineligible for this discussion.
With that being said, Walsh holds several impressive NFL records:
Most Field Goals of 50 yards or more in a season - 10 (On top of that, he did it all without missing a single kick over 50)
Highest Field Goal Percentage in a season by a rookie - 92.1%.
Most Field Goals made in a season by a rookie - 35.
In addition, Walsh already holds Vikings franchise records:
Longest Field Goal - 56 Yards.
Most Field Goals of 37+ yards in a game - 5.
The future is bright!