Adam: Linval Joseph, DT
This one is easy, to me. It doesn’t matter if you are his teammate or his opponent. There are no excuses about injuries to the guy next to him. There is no matchup too tough. Analytical types are every bit as high on him as a casual observer. He is disruptive, impacting both the run and the pass, and his impact has been as consistent as anybody on this defense… and there are plenty of consistent producers on this defense. Mid-season? I say Joseph is the clearest Pro Bowler on this team, without a doubt.
Brent: Anthony Barr, LB
Trying to stray from the pack here a little bit as the obvious answer is Harrison Smith, and rightfully so. Smith has been dominant in 2015, and I believe should be in consideration as the best safety in the league. That said, Barr plays a massive role in the Vikings defense and goes into Sunday’s game as the 3rd-highest-rated linebacker by PFF standards. Looking at Barr statistically, you note that he is second on the team in tackles, has a fumble recovery, 1.5 sacks and an INT. Not bad for a second-year linebacker some feared would be slow to adapt to the NFL level. What isn’t noted in Barr’s stats is his role he plays bringing pressure on the ‘A’ gap that has become so popular in Mike Zimmer’s defense. He might not always blitz, but his presence is enough for quarterbacks to be ever aware of where No. 55 is.