Minnesota Vikings: Who is the Most Valuable?

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports /

The Minnesota Vikings have too many good players, coaches and executives to name the most valuable member of the team, but it’s worth a shot.

Grasping how the Minnesota Vikings have been successful isn’t as easy as naming a handful of star players. Using a collaborative effort model long-term, the Vikings have found several ways to win in all three facets of the game.

Simply stated: it’s hard to pin down the most valuable member of the Minnesota Vikings. Still, it is worth making a case for the following options.

Mike Zimmer

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Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer is once again in the running for coach of the year honors. Just like the Vikings, it is hard to pin down which aspect of Mike Zimmer is the most valuable.

Zimmer’s value can be broken down in three areas: coaching, play-calling and scheme.

Mike Zimmer has tremendous aptitude in player development. Putting the most prepared players on the field has resulted in highly-disciplined success for the Vikings. Zimmer has shown a knack for teaching “raw” players great technique and a keen understanding of his coaching philosophy.

There’s nothing cutting-edge about the way Zimmer approaches his players–he’s just brutally honest. As a result, they are buying in to his system while all 53 talented players trust in the disciplined techniques he implaments.

Zimmer and company didn’t win the lottery going 4-0 with replacement players at some of the most important positions. The next man up at every position has proven to be well-prepared and comfortable trusting Zimmer’s coaching system.

Coaching both his coaches and players, Mike Zimmer has created a system in which every player performs to their ceiling while being dependable to the other 10 players on the field.

The way Mike Zimmer uses his talented players offers another argument supporting his value. His defensive scheme puts key players in position to make plays, and leaves opposing offenses scratching their heads.

Opponents never know how many Vikings are rushing and how many are going into coverage. They also have trouble identifying the types of coverages. These foreign schemes wouldn’t be possible without the well-coached, athletic players at Zimmer’s disposal, but he uses them well and plays to their strenghts.

Mike Zimmer’s situational playcalling has been spotless through the first four games. Zimmer doesn’t play halves or quarters of fluffy defense when his team is on top. He constantly chooses precise plays for key situations–never taking his foot off the gas defensively. As a result, teams simply haven’t been able to climb back against the Vikings.

Rick Spielman

Minnesota Vikings GM Rick Spielman also has a case for the most value. Although Mike Zimmer collaborates on personnel decisions, Spielman ultimately has the final say. The players that Zimmer has managed to coach up and utilize were all hand-plucked by Spielman. Zimmer himself was hired by Vikings executives including Spielman.

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A huge reason for the success of the Minnesota Vikings in 2016 has been their depth at virtually every position. The defensive line, for example, boasts seven impactful, starting-level players in Everson Griffen, Linval Joseph, Sharrif Floyd, Brian Robison, Danielle Hunter, Tom Johnson and Shamar Stephen.

Spielman found Hunter and Griffen in the third and fourth round of the draft respectively. That same depth has proven effective for almost every position.

Rick Spielman’s acquisition of Sam Bradford impacted the Vikings’ success in an extremely positive way. For how important and successful Bradford has been, Spielman payed a small price to keep the season alive.

Spielman took a chance early in the 2014 draft on a running back from UCLA named Anthony Barr–he turned out to be one of the best 4-3 outside linebackers in the NFL. The talented, deep roster of the Vikings was manufactured by Spielman, and that ought to support his claim for the most valuable member of the Minnesota Vikings.

Pick a player

This is where it gets hard to argue. The most valuable player could be Harrison Smith, Everson Griffen, Linval Joseph, Anthony Barr, Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes, Stefon Diggs, Kyle Rudolph or Sam Bradford. There are others that one could certainly argue successfully as well.

Next: Cordarelle Patterson's Playing Time is Paying Off

The important individual play and talent collectively coming together for top-tier disciplined football makes this team tick at the top of the league. Picking the most valuable Minnesota Vikings member seems to be an impossible task. Who do you think? @eddiechisham @SportingSota