This is a continuation of a story that you can read here: https://purpleptsd.com/current-vikings-that-could-be-franchise-goats-part-1/
Adam Thielen vs Randy Moss/Cris Carter
I hate hedging, but I didn’t want to pick between Moss and Carter. Certainly Moss was the better physical talent and has a case for being the best receiver of all-time, but much of his best work was done in New England. Carter has, I feel, just as strong a case to be the greatest Vikings receiver of all-time.
That brings me to the current Vikings receiver Adam Thielen. We all know Thielen’s story well by this point. A tryout player who has made his way to one of the NFL’s best. Unfortunately for Thielen, he didn’t make it into the league until he was already 24, and didn’t see significant use until he was 26. This makes him a huge what if to me.
I also think he has a case to be the greatest Minnesota born Viking of all-time, although he’ll have to fight Matt Birk and Marcus Sherels for that. Unfortunately, he can’t be the best Minnesota born receiver of all-time because that title goes to Larry Fitzgerald. Thielen would need to peak about six more times to get close to Randy or Carter, but he gets my nod as “fan favorite” on the Vikings team right now.
Likelihood of Thielen being the GOAT -3/10
Kyle Rudolph vs Steve Jordan
This is actually the comparison that fully inspired this article. I saw a Twitter comment about Rudy being the GOAT Vikings tight end. I questioned this because well, Steve Jordan is already in the Vikings ring of honor, and Rudy has been pretty disappointing over his career.thus far.
I don’t want to be misconstrued, I love Kyle Rudolph, but it feels like he’s never hit his potential. He was supposed to revolutionize the tight end position in Minnesota. However, he’s never recorded more than 850 receiving yards in a season, and has yet to crack 10 touchdowns in a season.
That said, I think it’s important to consider that he still has a very similar per 16 game average as Jordan in regards to yards, and has 19 more receiving touchdowns than Jordan in four less years. So, I think Rudolph is already the GOAT tight end, but it also illustrates how weak the position is in Vikings history.
Likelihood of Rudolph being the GOAT 10/10
Danielle Hunter vs Page/Eller/Marshall/Allen/Randall/Doleman
I’ve already discussed this at length in my other article, but this argument is a fun toss-up of Vikings greats. Hunter should wind up close to the top here, and could be the best of the bunch. He just needs to maintain his production or do even better for about a decade. I still give him a fair chance.
Likelihood of Hunter being the GOAT 7/10
Barr/Kendricks vs Scott Studwell
I almost put Chad Greenway here, but that would certainly have been recency bias. Barr and Kendricks are certainly the best linebacking tandem that I’ve seen in purple, and perhaps my favorite in the whole NFL. Barr is a bit of a disappointment as he’s never quite lived up to his draft position, but Kendricks is absolutely the real deal.
Neither are anywhere close to Studwell’s 1,981 tackles, but they each have a shot at it if they play long enough. This is one where I don’t feel completely comfortable making this call due to not being familiar enough with the current GOAT, but I’ll say that Kendricks has a better shot than Barr.
Likelihood of Barr being the GOAT 4/10
Likelihood of Kendricks being the GOAT 5/10
Harrison Smith vs Paul Krause
Arguably the second most loaded position in Vikings history behind defensive line, Minnesota has enjoyed its share of great safeties. Joey Browner, Robert Griffith, and Orlando Thomas make up the list of honorable mentions in a stacked position group.
Krause isn’t just the Vikings leader in interceptions, but tops in the NFL all-time. 28 of his 81 interceptions came in his first four seasons with the Washington Redskins, but that doesn’t take away from his legacy as a Viking. In a time when most defenses were concerned with stopping the run, Krause was covering the entire field to stop the pass. He truly was a ball-hawking safety before ball-hawking safeties were a thing. A revolutionary talent, who transcends generations.
Harrison Smith has been excellent in his own right. 658 tackles, 23 interceptions, 13 sacks and 37 tackles for loss in eight years. Smith has a chance to get close to Krause if he can stay effective for the next 5-8 years. I think their play style makes the comparison difficult, but Krause is a top 10 safety in NFL history. Smith likely won’t hit that mark unless he starts stacking interceptions and highlight plays now.
Likelihood of Smith being the GOAT 4/10