PFF All Pro Team Features Plenty of Vikings Praise

Andrew Depaola
Aug 14, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; A general view of the line of scrimmage as Minnesota Vikings long snapper Andrew DePaola (42) snaps the ball against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

There is quite a bit of Vikings praise in the recently-released PFF All Pro team.

At 13-4, it’s no surprise that Minnesota has several players who qualify for the team. More often than not, the league’s best teams are driven by elite talent at key positions. The Vikings are no different.

Minnesota has three players included on the PFF team.

The Vikings Praise and the All Pros

No surprise: Justin Jefferson is one of the receivers to get first-team recognition from PFF. He finished the year 3rd overall in their grading for receivers. The bare stats – 128 catches, 1809 yards, and 8 TDs – are similarly impressive.

Take a look at what they had to say about the WR1:

Jefferson is putting up record-breaking numbers over his young career thus far, as only Hill had more explosive receptions than Jefferson (47), who also finished second in the league in yards per route run. Despite teams knowing that Jefferson was the primary, and at times only, threat on the Vikings offense, most still could do little to slow him down.

The above blurb raises a good point. At various points, teams knew that Jefferson was the only major threat on the field and yet he still put up extravagant numbers. The addition of T.J. Hockenson and emergence of K.J. Osborn helps to take some of the pressure off #18.

Nov 6, 2022; Landover, Maryland, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) celebrates with Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports.

The other first-team All Pro (at least in the PFF piece) is long snapper Andrew DePaola, who is also heading to the Pro Bowl. Minnesota’s LS has done a nice job this season:

PFF tracks accuracy on long snaps, and there has been no safer long snapper than DePaola, who had just four slightly off-target snaps all season.

At the end of the day, a long snapper doesn’t have too many responsibilities. Being able to block well and join the fun when tackling a returner is important, though delivering crisp, accurate snaps are the top priority. DePaola is the best in the NFL in that regard.

Finally, we see Patrick Peterson get some love, finishing as a second-team corner. Sauce Gardner and Patrick Surtain II get the top spots. The “Flex-D” spot goes to Jalen Ramsey. It’d be hard to put Peterson above any of those three corners, so the placement seems about right for the veteran who has had an excellent 2022.

Patrick Peterson Had One of His Best Seasons in 2022
Jan 8, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson (7) celebrates his interception during the second quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports

QBs are completing less than 60% of their passes into his coverage. He has 5 interceptions and 15 PDs for the season.

The wild thing is that there are several other players who likely drew consideration for the team. Christian Darrisaw could have had a claim on the LT spot, and so too could Brian O’Neill have been chosen for the RT spot. One wonders if the injuries hurt their chances.

Danielle Hunter is top 10 among edge rushers in the PFF rankings. He has been somewhat overlooked this year even though he has had a great season.

Questions Answered: Lions Game Prediction, the Bounceback, Jeff Okudah
Dec 8, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter. Mandatory Credit: Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports.

Dalvin Tomlinson, Duke Shelley, Za’Darius Smith, Garrett Bradbury, T.J. Hockenson, and Khyiris Tonga have all had very strong seasons but don’t quite get into All Pro territory, at least if we’re merely looking at their grading system.

Minnesota’s playoff opponent – the New York Giants – get some consideration, as well. Left tackle Andrew Thomas is included and so too is defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence. Fans can keep an eye on the two linemen on Sunday to see what kind of impact they can make for the Giants.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference helped with this piece.