I believe that to properly analyze the 2017 IDPs you need to have an idea of how they’ll ALL perform so you can benchmark and compare them effectively. So I built a model using past performance, efficiency, scheme information and coaching tendencies to predict what will happen in 2017. I’ve applied that to my best estimates for how teams will use players this year which gives a projection and ranking for all IDPs. You can read more about what I did and how here.
As much as they collapsed after a red hot start, the 2016 Vikings still finished sixth in points allowed and third in yards allowed. They conceded 20 or fewer points nine times. Over the whole season as a whole they were an elite defense. At his best Mike Zimmer is one of the finest defensive coaches in the NFL.
They’re also a fine IDP team. The stat crew isn’t great, but it’s not awful. The defense is aggressive, makes plays and is fun to watch – and they look cool wearing purple. I love teams who have a distinctive colour scheme.
Linval Joseph, DT
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Joseph is way up in my rankings, at #2. He’s not a huge force as a pass rusher but he’ll make plays in this scheme, not least because they love to send two pass rushers in the A-gaps fairly often. On top of that, he’s a dominant force in the run game and I think he’ll pile up tackles. He’s a top tier defensive tackle.
Key stats: 733 snaps, 36 solo tackles, 25 assists, five sacks, one pass defended.
Danielle Hunter, DE
This is what you came to see, right? Well, I’m not going to disappoint you. Hunter is my #4 end for 2017. I think he’ll have another fantastic season. His efficiency is going to suffer but the additional snap volume should compensate. He’s just a great asset to own.
Key stats: 918 snaps, 36 solo tackles, 16 assists, 12 sacks, three passes defended.
Smith is one of my favourite players to watch in the NFL. He had a slightly down year last time out but if you look at the numbers it was actually fairly standard for him. The tackles and sacks were in line with career production. He just didn’t have the numbers in the passing game. My model says he’ll be the #9 safety but I think he’s got a decent chance to finish higher than that, and he’s just such a fun player to own.
Key stats: 919 snaps, 66 solo tackles, 25 assists, two sacks, five passes defended, two Interceptions.
Eric Kendricks, LB
Kendricks is the second best linebacker in Minnesota in real terms. But he’s the one to own in IDP. Similar to Tampa Bay, Baltimore and New England the more talented player is in a role that does not maximise statistical production. Kendricks is my #27 linebacker. I don’t think he’ll be a star but he’ll be a very reliable LB2.
Key stats: 876 snaps, 66 solo tackles, 32 assists, four sacks, eight passes defended, one Interception.
Everson Griffen, DE
I like Griffen a lot as a player but again he has limited IDP value as my #38 end. He’ll be useful in certain weeks, but not someone I really want to own.
Key stats: 869 snaps, 26 solo tackles, eight assists, six sacks, two passes defended.
Brian Robison, DE
It was fun whilst it lasted wasn’t it? Now Hunter is getting a bump in playing time, Robison is not IDP relevant. Feel free to cut him if you haven’t already. He’s #63 in my rankings.
Key stats: 420 snaps, 18 solo tackles, six assists, five sacks, one pass defended.
Anthony Barr, LB
I love Barr. He’s genuinely a brilliant player. But he just doesn’t pile up a ton of stats in this scheme. I think he’ll bounce back a little bit but he’s still only #66 in my model. This makes me sad.
Key stats: 797 snaps, 49 solo tackles, 23 assists, two sacks, three passes defended, one Interception.
Xavier Rhodes, CB
Rhodes is just outside the realms of useful corners at #35. He’s a fine player but just not reliable enough as an IDP.
Key stats: 797 snaps, 48 solo tackles, six assists, 11 passes defended, two Interceptions.
He did really well at times last season but he’s really not a guy you want to be relying on. I have him at safety #46.
Key stats: 857 snaps, 54 solo tackles, 20 assists, three passes defended, one Interception.
I’m pretty excited about this team. Behind the Texans they’re one of my absolute favourite teams to watch. And fortunately they do pretty well in my model. I’m really hoping Zimmer is able to coach fully after his eye issues and we see the Vikings at their best. Remember how close they were to beating the Seahawks in that icy cold game a couple of years ago? I want to see another January defensive masterclass.
Those are my predictions as of right now. Obviously things will change as we get a better idea of who will play and how going towards the season. If you disagree with any assertions here feel free to leave a comment or contact me on Twitter (@TomDegenerate) and I’ll be happy to discuss.
Thanks for reading.
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