The 5 Most Underrated Vikings Players

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

The Minnesota Vikings are generally an underrated team, and the rostered players must play longer at a higher level to generate national buzz compared to players from the Dallas Cowboys or a New York team. But even on the Vikings roster, there are some hidden gems that most Vikings fans should pay more attention to.

The 5 Most Underrated Vikings Players

The following list includes a handful of players that deserve more respect. There is no specific order.

C.J. Ham

The fullback of the Vikings doesn’t really deserve the label fullback, a position whose worth has declined to a minimum in recent years. Running backs are barely worth anything nowadays, and the fullback position was hit even more severely. Many teams don’t even have a fullback on their roster in the day and age of 11-personnel (3 WRs, 1 TE.,1 RB).

The 5 Most Underrated Vikings Players
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However, Ham is different. When Kevin O’Connell came to the Vikings with his background as a Sean McVay disciple, it was assumed that the tenure of Ham would end sooner rather than later. No team runs more 11-personnel than the Rams. But Ham is not only still on the team, he also signed a contract extension with the franchise, so he is a significant part of future plans.

A big reason for that is the fact that Ham is more than just a fullback. He is not a player who can only block for a runner. Ham can also catch the ball out of the backfield, is an excellent special teams player, and is a team captain, which shows his importance to the locker room. He deserves more respect as an all-around player.

Harrison Phillips

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The defensive tackle joined the Vikes in last year’s free agency and played next to Dalvin Tomlinson for one season. After Tomlinson’s departure, someone has to replace the top guy on the defensive line, and that guy will be Phillips. The former Buffalo Bill is a veteran with leadership qualities and has been a decent player his whole career.

However, as a run-stuffing defensive tackle who generated only three sacks in five seasons, he is the prototypical unsung hero of any defensive unit. A player that does the dirty work for little credit. He posted a career-high 1.5 sacks in 2022 and will be crucial for the defensive overhaul under defensive coordinator Brian Flores.

K.J. Osborn

He was a member of the same draft class as Justin Jefferson, so there wasn’t a lot of hype for him. Osborn didn’t excel in his kick return role in his debut season and didn’t have any impact on offense.

Viking Has Everything
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A camp breakout star in 2021, Osborn surprisingly claimed the longtime vacant WR3 spot behind Jefferson and Adam Thielen and never gave it back. 655 and 650 yards in the last two seasons demonstrate that he is good at his job in that specific role.

Regardless, Vikings fans don’t think he is a secondary option and favor Jordan Addison. The underrated receiver can prove them wrong by beating out Addison for the WR2 job in training camp and then performing well in the upcoming season.

Josh Metellus

Another underrated special teams ace. The safety has been a fabulous contributor to the coverage unit and even earned the captain’s badge in the absence of Brian O’Neill last season. Kris Boyd was the one receiving praise for his play on the unit, but Metellus was the most impactful special teams contributor.

kevin o'connell hints more
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His role on the defense can’t be overstated, either. He played in place of the injured Harrison Smith in three games last season and played well in all of them. Flores’ affinity for versatile players could be a chance for more playing time in the upcoming season, as he can line up all over the field. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah honored him as the team’s unsung hero.

Josh Oliver

Baltimore Ravens tight end Josh Oliver (84) spikes the ball after a touchdown score as tight end Mark Andrews (89) looks on and Jacksonville Jaguars safety Andre Cisco (5) is slow to get up after an attempted stop during the fourth quarter of a regular season NFL football matchup Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022 at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville. The Jaguars edged the Ravens 28-27. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union]

The tight end free agency signing is viewed as a run-blocking specialist, but that is far from the truth. While he certainly is one of the elite run-blocking tight ends in football, he is also a fantastic athlete that combines size and speed. Many will be surprised by his receiving skills that weren’t fully unleashed in Baltimore.

Offensive coordinator Wes Phillips recently praised the abilities of the new player. There’s a reason why the Vikes gave him a big contract. He is not just a blocker. Expect many sets with two tight ends on the field, as the coaches love his qualities.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt