While Madden NFL 21 is just a video game, it does give fans a look at how an outside source sees their team and favorite players.
The Minnesota Vikings entire roster’s ratings were released on Monday, and there’s plenty to breathe in. Safety Harrison Smith was the highest-rated safety overall with a 95 rating, while Dalvin Cook was fifth-highest rated running back at 91 overall.
How did EA do with the rest of the roster this season? Let’s find out below.
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The Top Five
As mentioned, Smith and Cook were among the top-five at their positions.
A surprise was Michael Pierce, whom the Vikings acquired from free agency at 91 overall as the third-best defensive tackle in the league. He was vital the Baltimore Ravens run defense a season ago but has yet to be ranked inside the top-10 of any positional rankings lists. Last year, Pierce was rated 92 overall and The GameHaus suggested his rating be adjusted to 86.
Adam Thielen was considered to be snubbed by fans as his stats in the past three seasons are comparable to his former partner in the passing game Stefon Diggs, who was rated 92 overall.
The Vikings’ 15-man 2020 draft class ushered in a new era as several rookies will be expected to make major contributions early after the team released seven starters in the offseason.
Justin Jefferson (LSU)
|Jeff Gladney (TCU)||CB||71|
|Cameron Dantzler (Mississippi St.)||CB||66|
|Ezra Cleveland (Boise State)||LT||66|
|D.J. Wonnum (South Carolina)||RE||65|
|Josh Metellus (Michigan)||FS||65|
|K.J. Osborn (Miami)||WR||65|
|Troy Dye (Oregon)||MLB||65|
|Harrison Hand (Temple)||CB||64|
|James Lynch (Baylor)||DT||64|
|Kenny Willekes (Michigan St.)||LE||64|
|Brian Cole II (Mississippi St.)||SS||62|
|Kyle Hinton (Washburn)||LG||60|
|Blake Brandel (Oregon State)||RG||58|
|Jack Browning (Washington)||QB||53|
|Nate Stanley (Iowa)||QB||53|
Justin Jefferson was the fifth-highest rated rookie wide receiver as the successor to Diggs’ position as a top-two receiver on the team.
Check out his reaction to his and other Vikings ratings.
Here’s where it gets subjective. While an 89 overall player may be virtually the same as a 90 overall, it matters to fans just as much as the recognition of good versus great. And while many Vikings were given good ratings, there are some who are deserving to be great.
Danielle Hunter and Anthony Harris are obvious candidates to at least be bumped up a few points. Hunter the youngest player to reach 50 sacks in his career due to his consistency and keeps getting better, while Harris led the NFL with interceptions last season.
Eric Kendricks had one of the best seasons of any coverage linebacker in the NFL last season and was given an 89 overall, good for third-bet among NFL linebackers. He could use Kendricks is deserving of the rank and maybe even a bit higher of a rating after setting what’s believed to be the most pass breakups (12) ever by a linebacker in a single season in 2019, per PFF.
Kirk Cousins at one point was an 83 in Madden 20 but had his rating knocked down to 82 in Week 17 — a game against the Chicago Bears where he didn’t play along with the rest of the Vikings starters. His postseason performance was not accounted as he begins the season at 82 overall. His rating is relatively accurate, given only five quarterbacks are above 90, but it wouldn’t be shocking to see his rating climb if he builds off his success in 2019.
With many second- and third-year players expected to get involved this season, there could be several candidates who’ll grow their rating throughout the season. That’s the one thing on defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo’s mind as he called for the NFL to put player safety first so he can improve his “underwhelming madden score.”
Here’s the entire roster from the highest to lowest ratings:
|Irv Smith Jr||TE||75|
|Brian Cole II||SS||62|
Trevor Squire is a Heavy contributor covering the Minnesota Vikings and journalism graduate from the University of Minnesota — Twin Cities. Connect with him on Twitter @trevordsquire and join our Vikings community at Heavy on Vikings on Facebook.