Trolling around the net for Vikings content, I stumbled upon an article from ProFootballFocus.com listing the most underrated player from each NFL team. At a position that is as valuable as defensive end he should be in the same breath as the league’s best, but he’s often left off of the elite tier. I think he is underrated, but not the most underrated Viking.
Some other candidates who I consider to be just as, if not more, underrated than Hunter are Anthony Harris, Eric Kendricks, and Britton Colquitt.
Coming off a season where he tied for the most interceptions in the league, Harris should start getting more of the recognition he deserves. After three years being a solid backup for veteran Andrew Sendejo, Harris finally found consistency in the starting role in 2018. It’s hard to tell just how great Harris has been because of his position and being overshadowed by guys like Harrison Smith, another player who has been criminally underrated in his career.
Harris just recently signed his franchise tag offer for 2020, and it seems that both his agent and the Vikings front office are currently working on a long-term deal.
You might question putting Kendricks here. He did just make first-team All-Pro and was given an invitation to the Pro Bowl. However, I think Eric Kendricks was the best defensive player in the NFL this season. The player who received the award, New England Patriots Stephen Gilmore, tied Anthony Harris for interceptions with six. He also had 20 pass defenses, eight more than Kendricks.
The difference between Kendricks and Gilmore is that Kendricks recorded 12 pass defenses as a linebacker. He also recorded 110 total tackles, 57 more than what Gilmore had. However, linebackers aren’t valued the same way defensive backs and defensive ends are so Kendricks won’t get the same love.
Most people don’t think about the punter unless they mess up, and outside of one bad punt in Kansas City that gave them a short field late in the game, Colquitt was unremarkable. He averaged 45.2 yards per punt in 2019, good for 18th in the league for punters who punted more than 45 times. His long of 59 was also among the lowest for NFL punters.
However, he, along with rookie long snapper Austin Cutting, was a huge reason why Dan Bailey went from hitting just 75% of field goals in 2018 to 93.5% in 2019. That gain moved Bailey into the top five in the NFL in field goal percentage. People talk about how undervalued special teams is, but even then everybody forgets about the snapper and holder. Colquitt is one of the best holders in the NFL, and makes Dan Bailey much better because of it. He is my own personal choice for the current most underrated Minnesota Viking.