‘Madden Week’ Has Been Kind to Vikings

Another Stunning
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Minnesota Vikings training camp kicks off Sunday, but first, the dry area of the NFL calendar winds down, so items like ‘Madden Ratings’ are somehow important.

‘Madden Week’ Has Been Kind to Vikings

Each year, EA Sports releases the game to multiple platforms while fans and players flock to the game for enjoyment and to learn how players rank among each other — kind of like power rankings.

And Madden Week began with a bang for the Vikings, particularly affecting wide receiver Justin Jefferson and strong safety Harrison Smith.

Has Been Kind
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Jefferson immediately grabbed headlines via Madden ratings, fetching a ’99 score,’ or the best possible rating available. A Madden 99 mark in this year’s edition of the game indicates he is the best a player can be at his position, and the score cannot get higher. Per the sports gaming world, Jefferson is king.

Four players notched a 99 rating in last year’s installment of the Madden franchise:

  • Aaron Donald, DT, Los Angeles Rams
  • Davante Adams, WR, Las Vegas Raiders
  • Myles Garrett, EDGE, Cleveland Browns
  • Trent Williams, LT, San Francisco 49ers
Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports.

Jefferson was elated with the news, too. He tweeted, “Y’all have no idea what it means to be a 99 in Madden!! Since I was 7y/o I been creating my own player making him a 99 and now I don’t have to????????”

Meanwhile, Jefferson’s teammate, Harrison Smith, also rated impressively. He garnered the seventh-best rating among safeties, a noteworthy feat as Smith was utterly snubbed from ESPN’s recent leaguewide safety rankings. This is Madden’s 2023 pecking order for safeties:

Derwin James (LAC) — 95
Minkah Fitzpatrick (PIT) — 93
Justin Simmons (DEN) — 92
Kevin Byard (TEN) — 92
Jessie Bates III (ATL) — 91
Tyrann Mathieu (NO) — 91
Budda Baker (ARI) — 90
Jordan Poyer (BUF) — 90
Harrison Smith (MIN) — 90
Micah Hyde (BUF) — 89

Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

In the ESPN polling, tabulated from opinions by NFL executives, coaches, and scouts, Smith failed to command Top 10 attention and wasn’t even noted in 12 honorable mentions or vote-getters.

Smith turned 34 in February and accepted a paycut to remain with the 2023 Vikings. His career is winding down, but the ESPN exclusion was a bit head-scratching. He may not be a Top 10 safety anymore — it’s debatable — but the Madden ratings at safety seem to put the world back on its axis.

Brian Flores Changed the Vikings Offseason
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More Madden ratings will drop shortly, and Vikings players like Christian Darrisaw, Brian O’Neill, T.J. Hockenson, and Danielle Hunter are expected to grab admirable scores.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.