Last July, my wife and I received a very special gift from a very thoughtful family member of ours. As we continued preparing to welcome our first son into the world, we received a brand new Adrian Peterson onesie, sized for 3-months old. I was pumped, my little buddy was going to have the opportunity to represent our favorite team and do so with the namesake of one of the best Vikings to every play the game. We all know how that story played out and needless to say, that mindset quickly changed.

As the allegations, and then photographs, and then admissions continued to surface surrounding Adrian’s physical abuse of his four-year old son, it just didn’t seem right to put my little son in a jersey depicting his persona. I mean, adult fans were burning and tossing out their #28 jerseys, so I quietly folded little Mac’s away.

Yesterday afternoon I moved that jersey one final time, into a storage bin with all of the other clothes that we just bought and he’s now outgrown. It's sad, but put us in a tough spot. How negatively ironic would it have been dressing out son in the outfit of an admitted abuser. So it got me thinking, if we were to try again, which Vikings jersey would I buy for my son given the current landscape of the team?

It’s an interesting thing, wearing a jersey. You shell out a hundred dollars or so to wear the name of a man you’ve never met on the back of your shirt. You don’t know what they stand for, you don’t know what their personality is like, but you do know that they represent your devotion to your favorite team. So we buy jersey’s to support them.

Unless you’re made out of money, you probably have to think long and hard before making the purchase. For the first time in a long time, there is no Vikings player (Adrian Peterson) in the top-50 for jersey sales this season. With the field wide open here are a multitude of things to consider before making the splash...

  • You want the player to be relevant enough to warrant your fandom Sorry Jeff, but I don’t see a many #8 Locke jerseys floating around town.
     
  • You want them to be longstanding
    I ran into this problem when I fell for the fervor and bought a Brett Favre jersey back in 2009. Five years later, Brett is preparing for his green-gold #4 to be raised into the rafters while his purple and white #4 remains tucked away in the back of my closet.
     
  • You hope that they are of good character
    This was the problem with the #28 jersey my little guy didn’t get to wear. It’s also the problem for those of you who have a #42 Darren Sharper jersey packed away somewhere.

Following those criteria, here are the 3 most worthy player-jerseys you should be considering if you are in the market.

3. TE - Kyle Rudolph
Still attempting to fully supplant his legacy with the Minnesota Vikings, Kyle Rudolph would be a great option if you are looking for a jersey. While the tight end position is not the king of the food chain, they can still be dynamic. Touchdowns can be scored, replays will be seen and a #82 jersey would look pretty cool at your next tailgate party! The best part, unless things go awry (and as we learned this season, they certainly can), Kyle is under contract to be a member of the Vikings through the 2019 season.

2. SS - Harrison Smith
On the verge of a new contract extension with the team, there’s no fear that Harrison Smith will be playing anywhere but in Minnesota for a long time. As it stands today, Smith is one of the team’s most dynamic defensive players, regularly finding himself on the Sportcenter’s Top 10 plays list. Smith is a good guy who has been extremely active in the community and is, at this point in his career, no threat to end up on the police blotter for bad behavior.

1. QB Teddy Bridgewater
This may be a no brainer, but the best jersey to buy for Vikings fans at the moment is a slick home purple Teddy Bridgewater jersey. With one stellar season under his belt, Teddy looks primed and ready to take this team over in the years to come. Playing QB, Teddy’s #5 jersey is one of the most recognizable on the roster and unless you get one of the errant “B-R-I-D-E-W-A-T-E-R jerseys printed by Target earlier this year, it’s going to garner you respect among fellow Vikings fans on game day. On the verge of supplanting himself as the team’s franchise quarterback, there’s no worry that Teddy’s going to pack his bags and return to his hometown South Beach whatsoever. He seems like a team player, is not known to be a troublemaker and is your 2015 “Best Bet to Buy a Jersey” winner!

Honorable mentions:

  • LB Anthony Barr & CB Xavier Rhodes

Now it probably should be noted that there is a select minority out there that find humor in rocking the most obscure jerseys that they can find. To those of you with a Tarvaris Jackson, Troy Williamson and Fuad Reveiz jersey, I salute you! If this floats your boat a little more accurately, I've got a freshly pressed #57 Audie Cole jersey set and ready for you. Buy two and I'll throw in an authentic 80s rock band wig to complete the look.