The Vikings Most Underrated Player

NFL: Preseason-Minnesota Vikings at Cincinnati Bengals
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The NFL is a league full of superstars, but the understated guy who gets on with his job without fuss is just as important.

That’s the case with the man who is arguably Vikings most underrated player — Harrison Phillips.

The 27-year-old signed for the Vikings after four seasons in Buffalo, and his three-year, $19.5 million contract represented a big-money signing for a team with a minimal salary cap to work with. Phillips wasn’t a big name, and fans could be forgiven for not being overly familiar with the defensive lineman, but he arrived from Buffalo with nothing but good reviews regarding the man and the player.

The Vikings Most Underrated Player

Phillips was tasked with giving the Vikings a solid interior defensive line alongside Dalvin Tomlinson, with both men responsible for defending a gap and a half. Phillips and Tomlinson did a solid job in a defense that had many problems. However, Tomlinson has left Minnesota and joined the Cleveland Browns, making Phillips the “main man” on the Vikings defensive line and adding responsibility with it. Last season Phillips was stout against the run, and although he didn’t affect the passing game as much as he would have liked, he did record two sacks — the most in a single year through five seasons.

most underrated
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It was a solid first season in purple for the Stanford alumnus, which he hopes to build on in Year 2 under new defensive coordinator Brian Flores. Pro Football Focus recently highlighted an underrated player for each of the 32 teams in the NFL. They looked at a player from each team who might not be a household name but still plays a key role in whether or not their team succeeds. The Vikings most underrated player was Phillips, a decision that is difficult to argue with.

In choosing Phillips, this is what PFF had to say;

Phillips struggled as a pass-rusher last season, but he was stout against the run. He was one of 28 interior defenders last season to log at least 300 snaps defending the run, and among that group, he ranked seventh with a 73.8 run defense grade. Phillips was 10th in positive grade rate when stopping the run while also posting the seventh-best negative grade rate.

William Moy, Pro Football Focus

Phillips, the Man

Contrary to his nickname “Horrible Harry,” Phillips is an incredible human being who puts a lot of time and effort into charity work and helping local communities. Something that can be seen through his foundation, “Harrison’s Playmakers.”

Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports.

Last year when his former teammate Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest during a game and was taken to the local ICU. Phillips arranged for food to be delivered to Hamlin’s family and everyone involved in his care at the medical center. He was a popular figure during his time in Buffalo, and it’s easy to see why; he is giving up his time and backs that up on the gridiron in a manner that makes him easy to root for.

Phillips, the Player

Run defense is where Phillips earns his money, which will continue to be the case this season. He will likely play as a defensive end in a 3-4 base, giving him added responsibility to affect the quarterback. The more aggressive nature of Flores’ defense should give Phillips more opportunity to do that. 

The Vikings Top Defensive Performers at Bills, per PFF
Bills quarterback Josh Allen delivers a pass as he is pressured by Vikings Harrison Phillips. © JAMIE GERMANO / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Either way, you won’t hear any complaints from Phillips if he’s doing the dirty work in the trenches while others around him are getting the numbers on the stat sheet. A selfless man and a selfless player, he will do what’s best for his team and will be a vital cog in the Vikings defense—making him a valid contender to be named the Viking most underrated player.