10 Most Overrated Minnesota Vikings in Franchise History
Every franchise has them. Every media outlet overvalues them. And how the fanbase reacts to their contributions varies.Overrated players.
I have followed the Minnesota Vikings since roughly the 1995 season. As will be obvious from my list, there's a blatant bias toward players who graced their roster in the last 20 seasons.
The basis for this list is that a player's contributions either don't match up with the public perception of him, or his statistics are skewed either because of his teammates or the scheme.
Let me know who I missed.
10. Andrew Glover, Tight End (1997-1999)
The pinnacle of Andrew Glover's Viking career came in 1998 when he caught 36 passes for 522 yards and five touchdowns.
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Part of this selection is due to my youth. Andrew Glover was a Minnesota Viking when I was between the ages of seven and nine.
I remember Glover as a studly pass-catching tight end who was great on third downs and in the red zone. I must have been taking crazy pills.
Certainly in 1998, Glover had a good season. Heck, who didn't have a good season on the 1998 Minnesota Vikings offense?
That year, he caught 35 passes for 522 yards and five touchdowns, all of which were career highs.
But after that season, it was never the same for Glover, and his career ended two years later.
Glover's stay in Minnesota was brief and uneventful. Why did I have such a high regard for Glover?
9. Chris Hovan, Defensive Tackle (2000-2004)
Over his five-year career in Minnesota, Chris Hovan never accumulated over 52 tackles or six sacks.
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The 2002 season was the pinnacle of Hovan's career in Minnesota when he recorded 52 tackles and 5.5 sacks and was a near Pro Bowl selection.
But above and beyond that, Hovan's Minnesota career was very uneventful. But it seemed that many gave him more credit than he deserved toward the end of his stay.
Once Hovan had shown an ability to make plays, offensive lines began to plan their blocking scheme around him. They double-teamed and disrupted his flow. He wasn't the same player.
When he was the center of attention, he was less than stellar. Then, he finished his career as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer and did very little.
8. Derrick Alexander, Defensive End (1995-1999)
Derrick Alexander was the No. 11 pick in the 1995 NFL draft and never recorded double-digit sacks.
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Sports in today's world are all about "what have you done for me lately." The end of Derrick Alexander's Minnesota career was the best part.
In 1998, he recorded a career-high 7.5 sacks to go along with 37 tackles, and that would be his last season as a Viking, and his second-to-last season in the NFL.
After being selected 11th overall in the 1995 NFL draft, he was done by 2000.
Alexander demonstrated some skills as a pass-rusher but was never overly consistent. He left fans and Vikings coaches wanting more rather than giving on a consistent basis, all of which add up to "overrated" in my book.
7. Brad Johnson, Quarterback (1992-1998, 2005-2006)
In nine seasons as a Minnesota Viking, Brad Johnson started 46 games and threw 65 touchdowns compared to 48 interceptions.
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The Minnesota Vikings loved Brad Johnson so much that they brought him back for a second stint, despite the fact that the first stint wasn't that special.
Johnson was slated to be Minnesota's starting quarterback prior to the magical 1998 season but suffered a season-ending injury two games into the season.
The best years of Johnson's career were spent outside of Minnesota. In 1999, Johnson threw for 4,005 yards with the Washington Redskins and won Super Bowl XXXVII with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2002.
But Johnson came back to Minnesota in 2005 to serve as a backup to Daunte Culpepper and eventually became a starter again.
Given the full season in 1998, who knows what Johnson could have done. Given his resume as a Viking, Johnson is held in far too high of a standard.
At best, he was an average quarterback in Minnesota.
6. Bryant McKinnie, Offensive Tackle (2002-2010)
Bryant McKinnie was Minnesota's starting left tackle from 2003-2010.
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The Mount that not even God himself could move...Bryant McKinnie was the seventh overall pick by the Vikings in the 2002 NFL draft. He was supposed to anchor Minnesota's offensive line and protect the quarterback's blindside for the next 10 years (he technically protected it for 9.5 years)
Instead, McKinnie held out until the ninth game of his rookie season, was a distraction off the field (the 2005 "love boat" scandal, getting kicked off the 2010 Pro Bowl team and ultimately was cut by Minnesota in 2011 because of weight issues) and never lived up to his potential.
McKinnie is a hulk of a man (6'8" and 360 pounds) who was a phenomenal college player; he didn't allow a sack during his four years as a Miami Hurricane.
He was never fully dedicated to football and was still a solid contributor to an NFL team. McKinnie was a phenomenal talent who never lived up to his hype.
5. Todd Steussie, Offensive Tackle (1994-2000)
Todd Steussie was named one of the 50 Greatest Vikings in 2010, but I'm not a believer.
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Call me crazy, but Todd Steussie should not have been even nominated as one of the 50 Greatest Minnesota Vikings during the celebration of 50 years of Vikings football in 2010.
Steussie, as I remember him, was the slow tackle who couldn't properly protect his quarterback. Yes, he had two seasons where the NFL recognized his talents with Pro Bowl selections.
In his brief bio to explain his accolades, Vikings.com says he "paved the way for a Viking 1,000 yard rusher in five different seasons," his two Pro Bowl appearances and that he allowed just one sack in 1998.
That first bit is very unimpressive. When you block for a running back like Robert Smith for four of those five seasons, it's pretty easy.
It's also easier to block with Jeff Christy at center, Korey Stringer at the other tackle position and Hall-of-Fame guard Randall McDaniel on the offensive line with you for most of your Minnesota career. All three were also nominated to the 50 Greatest Vikings list.
This is not to say Steussie wasn't talented, but the guy didn't do as much as he gets credit for doing.
4. Jim Kleinsasser, Tight End (1999-2011)
Jim Kleinsasser played nowhere but Minnesota but brought little to the table other than his blocking abilities.
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When it comes to longevity, Jim Kleinsasser did all he could to make a lasting impact on the Minnesota Vikings franchise.
For perspective, Kleinsasser was Minnesota's second-round pick the year the franchise selected Daunte Culpepper and Demetrius Underwood in the first round. Kleinsasser certainly left his mark on the franchise but receives far more credit than he deserves.
Yes, Kleinsasser was a strong blocker. No one will deny that.
But was he even in a position to make an impact block all that often?
And have you ever seen him in the open field with the football in his hands? The man had absolutely no move to make defenders miss nor did he ever run over a defender (I would love someone to show me a video to prove me wrong).
His skills with the ball were pathetic and putrid. He caught 192 passes for 1,688 yards and six touchdowns during his 13-year career.
Minnesota really ought to have made him a starting tackle because that was all he was good at—blocking.
Don't mistake this negative Kleinsasser talk for hatred. Again, this is an overrated list, and Kleinsasser received far too much credit than he was due while he was in Minnesota.
3. Robert Griffith, Safety (1994-2000)
Robert Griffith was phenomenal at helping in run coverage, let's just say his pass defense skills weren't always up to par.
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Between 1996 and 2000, Robert Griffith never recorded fewer than 87 tackles and always had at least an interception the year.
Griffith was a hard-hitting safety who enjoyed providing support to the run defense. He was a strong playmaker for the Minnesota Vikings.
But his pass defense skills were...below par. Griffith had good hands and certainly was able to pick off the opposition, when he was in good position. Griffith wasn't always in the best position.
He was better than some of his teammates in the secondary during his time (Robert Tate, Jimmy Hitchcock, Kenny Wright), but he wasn't anything to write home about as a pass defender.
Playing around subpar talent never hurts to make an average player look great.
2. Jake Reed, Wide Receiver (1992-1999, 2001)
Between 1994 and 1997 Jake Reed was good for at least 72 receptions and 1,100 yards receiving. There is nothing wrong with that.
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Between 1994 and 1997, Reed was good for at least 72 receptions and 1,100 yards. It was money in the bank. During that stretch, Reed was able to play alongside of Carter, who is fourth in NFL history for touchdown receptions (130) and receptions (1,101).
From 1998-1999, and again in 2001, Reed was able to play with not only Carter but with a little known receiver named Randy Moss. Playing around that type of talent certainly makes it easier to be another receiver on the field.
Yes, Reed had talent. Yes, Reed was a difference maker. But what would he have done without those two? The 1997 season was Reed's last year with over four touchdown receptions or 650 yards receiving.
When it's broken down, Reed had four strong years in Minnesota. What's that really worth?
1. Warren Moon, Quarterback (1994-1996)
Warren Moon played in Minnesota for three years and only once threw more touchdowns than interceptions.
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It's amazing that this man was nominated as one of Minnesota's 50 Greatest players. In three seasons as a Minnesota Viking, Warren Moon only threw more touchdowns than interceptions once.
That 1995 season was impressive for Moon as he tied his career high for touchdown passes (33), threw for over 4,000 yards (4,228) and posted his best passer rating (91.5).
If one season is the measure, then Brett Favre should have been nominated. He had very similar numbers to Moon's magical season.
Moon led the Vikings to the postseason in the 1994 season, but overall, his Vikings career isn't that noteworthy. He played in Minnesota for three years, had one magical season and one season when he led the team to the postseason.
Moon seems to get a pass for good work based upon the body of work of his entire NFL career. As a Viking, he wasn't all that.