Vikings “Triplets” Ranked as Top 5 Group

Sep 20, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) celebrates his touchdown with wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) in the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Due to fantasy football and the pizazz of watching points fly onto scoreboards, the zest for offense in the NFL is paramount at the moment. While defensive football was preached and in demand during the 1970s and 1980s, the pendulum has swung to offense.

Quarterbacks and skill-position players put buttocks in seats — both in stadiums and on couches. To seize zeal for the offense-obsessed world, CBS Sports ranked the top “triplets” in the NFL, comprised of top offensive playmakers. CBS Sports‘ Jared Dubin described the criteria like this: “The number in parentheses is the average of the team’s ranking based on the votes of several of our staff writers and editors at CBSSports.com. The rankings reflect the collective wisdom of this crowd, while the corresponding analysis is mine.”

The Green Bay Packers (Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, Aaron Jones) and the Kansas City Chiefs (Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce) topped the list. However, if Rodgers is involved in the oft-mentioned trade talks after June 1st, these rankings will assuredly juxtapose.

The Minnesota Vikings checked in at #5 after the Packers, Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys, and Seattle Seahawks. This is especially noteworthy because, under head coach Mike Zimmer, the Vikings are a defense-first team. Channeling a star-studded triplet of offensive firepower is indicative of balance. Some folks even exaggerate to the extent of asserting, “Zimmer doesn’t care about the offense.”

Well, someone does. Accruing this triplet — Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook, and Justin Jefferson — since 2017 is a commendable feat. The moves have kept the Vikings “in line with the times” as the league has been overtaken by an offensive wave.

On Cousins, Cook, and Jefferson, Dubin wrote:

Jefferson just had perhaps the best rookie season in the history of wide receivers. Think about that for a minute. He broke Randy Moss’ record for receiving yards in a rookie year, and added 88 catches and seven touchdowns to go along with his 1,400 yards. Cousins was obviously at the helm for that fantastic season, and will be again this year despite the presence of third-round pick Kellen Mond on the roster. Cook is one of the best two-way running backs in the NFL, and he’s been mostly healthy the last two years after struggling with injuries early in his career.

From a Pro Football Focus perspective, the rankings echo CBS Sports‘ sentiments. Cousins was the NFL’s 11th-best passer in 2020, Cook ranked second among all RBs, and the rookie Jefferson placed second for wide receivers.

Now, Minnesota must pray for a clean bill of health from its roster. The pandemic season became moldy rather quickly when Danielle Hunter was lost for the year. Nose tackle Michael Pierce didn’t play at all due to asthmatic fears stemming from COVID-19. Soon after Week 1, Anthony Barr was lost for the season. So was now-departed cornerback Mike Hughes. When crunch time hit for the Vikings to make a playoff push, All-Pro linebacker Eric Kendricks was hurt for the remainder of the season.

Resultingly, the Vikings finished 2020 with the league’s fourth-worst defense — a hideous fall from grace as Minnesota’s 2019 defense ranked fifth leaguewide.

Zimmer needs one of his patented buxom defenses to align with this healthy offensive triplet — finally — in 2021. With Zimmer in charge, something always seems to derail the harmony. The Vikings are due for a year of systemic balance.

And, hey — Dubin didn’t even mention Adam Thielen. He’s not a bad playmaker to accompany a Top 5 triplet.

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