When EA Sports releases its ridiculously popular Madden game each summer, a frenzy occurs to determine which player received what ranking.
This metric is certainly not an edict to determine a player’s stardom, but it is fun and is a reasonable indicator of just how good each NFL player performs. Or at the very least, how good a player was the year prior.
Generally, three to seven players will seize the almighty 99 rating each year and this is an endorsement stating that the player is the best of the best.
Last year’s edition of the game assigned a number of players the near-perfect designation including Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Rodgers, Antonio Brown, Aaron Donald, Von Miller, Luke Kuechly, Khalil Mack, and Drew Brees.
Two of those players didn’t even play, the three quarterbacks were pretty good, and one of the guys even recently retired. So, as you can see, the ratings are fluid and interpretative.
The Minnesota Vikings have had three players earn a 99 rating in the history of Madden. Who are these former Vikings players that have achieved a 99 rating in the last 20 years?
Adrian Peterson – RB (Madden NFL 25)
This edition of Madden was released in August 2013, so this was the year immediately proceeding Adrian Peterson‘s MVP honors. You can typically take the year of the Madden game, subtract the title-year by two, and that’s the year in which the player accrued the numbers used to determine his ranking.
The 2012 season for Peterson was extraordinary. That’s modest terminology. It was the most dominant season yard-wise by a running back in 30 years. In fact, Peterson’s final rushing yards total was only outdone by one other player in NFL history–Eric Dickerson in 1984.
It’s debatable if Peterson’s MVP season was the second-best ever by a running back. The 1998 version of Terrell Davis or the 2003 rendition of Jamal Lewis would probably put up a good argument. Although, neither of those men won an NFL MVP award in those seasons. Heck, Dickerson did not even win the MVP award in 1984.
No running back has been named the NFL MVP since Peterson since it’s largely been a quarterback trophy. That’s probably why Peterson’s 2012 campaign netted him a spot in the Madden 99 club.
Jared Allen – DE (Madden NFL 11)
11 years ago, the Vikings partook in a storied season and made an NFC Championship appearance in New Orleans. The climax to that contest was tragic, but several individual players shined.
Defensively, Jared Allen was a cogent example of that. Allen motored his way to 14.5 sacks in 2009, which was second-best in the NFL to Denver Broncos pass rusher Elvis Dumervil.
To accompany the sacks, Allen added 19 tackles for a loss (second in the NFL), 23 quarterback hits (sixth), and five forced fumbles (third).
Jared was a tyrant in 2009. It did not stop there. Two years after this Madden game’s release, Allen would notch 22 sacks as a lone high point in an otherwise mortifying 2011 Vikings season.
Allen retired after the 2015 season, a year where he split time between the Chicago Bears and Carolina Panthers. Unfortunately for his sake, he came up short in the Super Bowl that season as the Panthers were defeated by the Denver Broncos, 24-10.
The 99-rating was highly fitting for Allen in Madden NFL 11 and he positively deserved it for Madden 13, too.
Randall McDaniel – OG (Madden NFL 99)
If you’re a Vikings fan (and you probably are), you’re smirking right now because a Minnesota offensive lineman was once elite in the NFL. Former Vikings guard Steven Hutchinson was elite as well, but he never tipped the Madden scales for a 99 rating.
But Randall McDaniel did.
For the merits of the 1997 season, McDaniel was awarded the illustrious rating for Madden NFL 99. In that installment of the game, fellow NFL offensive guards Mark Schlereth and Larry Allen were also given a 99.
The rating for McDaniel was especially fitting as this was the video game folks were playing while the 1998 Vikings impaled their regular-season opponents en route to a 15-1 record.
McDaniel would separate from Minnesota following the 1999 season and head down to Tampa Bay to finish out his career with the Buccaneers in 2000 and 2001. But not before he bullied his way to seven First-Team All-Pro selections, 12 Pro Bowls, and a spot on the NFL’s Top 100 Players of All-Time list.