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5 Vikings make CBS Sports' top 100 NFL players of 2023

Justin Jefferson is at the Vikings offseason minicamp
Justin Jefferson is at the Vikings offseason minicamp 01:12

MINNEAPOLIS -- CBS Sports' Pete Prisco has released his annual list of the top 100 NFL players, and several Minnesota Vikings made the cut -- including one name that may surprise fans.

What won't surprise fans is the top-ranked Viking -- it's wide receiver Justin Jefferson, of course. He's the highest ranked receiver and comes in at No. 7 overall. Prisco said he's "the league's best receiver heading into next season."

Vikings Football
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson tosses a ball during an NFL football practice Tuesday, June 13, 2023, in Eagan, Minn.. Bruce Kluckhohn / AP

The next Viking on the list doesn't show up until No. 56 -- left tackle Christian Darrisaw, who Prisco said "is on his way to being one of the best in the league."

Green Bay Packers v Minnesota Vikings
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 11: Christian Darrisaw #71 of the Minnesota Vikings competes against the Green Bay Packers in the first quarter of the game at U.S. Bank Stadium on September 11, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Packers 23-7. David Berding / Getty Images

The surprise comes at No. 92, where Prisco puts cornerback Patrick Peterson (who's now with the Steelers but spent the past two seasons with the Vikings). Prisco said Peterson "defied his age last season." While the 32-year-old was almost certainly the Vikings' best coverage man last year, there are plenty of corners left off the list who outplayed Peterson -- the Jacksonville Jaguars' Tyson Campbell and the Kansas City Chiefs' L'Jarius Sneed, for example.

Minnesota Vikings v Chicago Bears
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JANUARY 08: Patrick Peterson #7 of the Minnesota Vikings celebrates an interception in the second quarter of a game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on January 08, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. Getty Images

At 94, Prisco placed recently released running back Dalvin Cook. While his talent is undeniable, a relatively quiet market for his services post-release may prove the Vikings right in cutting him.

Minnesota Vikings v Chicago Bears
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JANUARY 08: Running back Dalvin Cook #4 of the Minnesota Vikings carries the ball during the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on January 08, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. Getty Images

The last Viking on the list is future Hall of Famer Harrison Smith, whose play has declined from its peak in recent years but still puts him among the league's best safeties. Prisco predicts he'll be "rejuvenated" in Brian Flores' defense.

Minnesota Vikings v Washington Commanders
LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 06: Harrison Smith #22 of the Minnesota Vikings returns an interception against the Washington Commanders during the second half of the game at FedExField on November 6, 2022 in Landover, Maryland. Scott Taetsch / Getty Images

Some notable Vikings made Prisco's honorable mentions: defensive end Danielle Hunter, reportedly a potential trade candidate, and quarterback Kirk Cousins, who's entering the last year of his contract.

Some players who were left off the list entirely, but could've had a case for inclusion:

  • Tight end T.J. Hockenson, who had 60 catches for 519 yards and three touchdowns after being traded to the Vikings midseason.
  • C.J. Ham, one of the league's best fullbacks and a useful utility player.
  • Kene Nwangwu, who has three kick return touchdowns over the past two years and was named All-Pro Second Team as a returner last year.

Prisco's top three players are all quarterbacks: the Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes, the Bills' Josh Allen and the Bengals' Joe Burrow.

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