The Vikings defense is stacked with talent at every level and plenty of star power.
On the defensive front four, Everson Griffen, Linval Joseph and Danielle Hunter have all been Pro Bowl selections.
Linebackers Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks are a formidable duo, with Barr having more of the star power.
And among defensive backs, Harrison Smith and Xavier Rhodes get most of the accolades (and honors).
All but Kendricks among the players mentioned have been named to at least one Pro Bowl since 2015.
But Pro Football Focus had an interesting assertion this week. In ranking the overall strengths of NFL rosters heading into the 2019 season — the Vikings were No. 9 overall, by the way — there was this: Their best defensive player in 2018 wasn’t any of the aforementioned Big Seven. Rather, it was safety Anthony Harris.
Per PFF via ESPN: Arguably Minnesota’s best defensive player last season, Harris made his biggest impact in coverage, where he saw just 13 targeted passes. Still, he recorded three interceptions and two additional pass breakups with a long reception of just 18 yards. He’s on the rise, and the Vikings saw enough out of him to let Andrew Sendejo walk to the Eagles this offseason.
Indeed, Harris earned the top PFF grade (89) of any Vikings defender by a fairly large margin. Four others were above 75, but nobody else was above 80.
Part of that could be due to a sample size that included just nine starts, but Harris was undoubtedly impressive last season. If he can take more steps forward in 2019 as some of the Vikings’ core gets a year older and possibly loses half a step, it could help Minnesota maintain its lofty defensive standing.