NFL

Ratings of the Minnesota Vikings in Madden 18

Safety Harrison Smith is the Minnesota Vikings top player for the second straight year.

At least according to EA Sports.

The video game company released player rankings earlier this week ahead of the late-August release of Madden 18, the storied video game that has been a top seller since its first annual release in 1990.

Smith rated at 93 overall stands as the Vikings only player to have a rating of 90 or above.

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Cornerback Xavier Rhodes, who signed a long-term deal with Minnesota on July 30, has the second-highest rating at 88.

The defensive line is well represented, as Linval Joseph, Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter are slotted at 86 overall, along with wide receiver Stefon Diggs.

A storyline to watch in training camp this year has been the running back situation, with second-round pick Dalvin Cook battling veterans Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon for the starting role.

Despite glowing reports about Cook coming from Mankato, Madden seems to think Murray still has the upper hand.

Murray is rated at 84 overall, with 92 speed, 94 acceleration, 63 catching, 69 pass block and an 87 trucking ability.

The rookie Cook boasts an 87 rating in elusiveness but rather humble ratings at speed (90) and acceleration (92). He significantly trails Murray in pass blocking (52), and ultimately, is ranked as an 80-overall player.

Interestingly enough, McKinnon is also rated 80 overall. Former Vikings back Adrian Peterson was given an 84 rating in his first year with the Saints.

Minnesota native Adam Thielen is slowly gaining the respect he deserves around the NFL. At the time Madden 17 was released last August, Thielen was a 69-overall player and ranked as the Vikings sixth-best receiver. He starts this season rated 81 overall the second-best receiver ranking on the team but still a little underrated. Although his 89 catching ability is impressive.

Quarterback Sam Bradford was appointed an 83 rating, tying him with Miamis Ryan Tannehill and Carson Palmer of the Cardinals as the 15th highest-rated QB.

Teddy Bridgewater, still nursing a knee injury, is rated 79 overall.

NOTABLE

-- Cornerback Trae Waynes is rated the fastest Vikings player at 94. Fellow defensive back and punt-return specialist Marcus Sherels leads the team in acceleration (95).

-- Coined Harry the Hitman, its not surprising that Madden ranked Smith as the Vikings hardest hitter (92 hit power).

-- Coming into last season as a first-round pick, Laquon Treadwell was rated 75 overall. This year -- after catching just one pass in 2016 -- Treadwell is slotted at 73 overall.

-- When Madden 17 was released, linebacker Anthony Barr was rated as the Vikings fifth-best player (88 overall). This year, he slipped to 20th on the team (79 overall).

JUST FOR FUN

-- QB Taylor Heinicke owns the third-highest kicking power (51) and accuracy (57) behind punter Ryan Quigley and place-kicker Kai Forbath. This might be a subtle shot at Heinicke, who missed most of 2016 with an ankle injury after attempting to kick down a door while he was locked out of a friends apartment.

-- Long snapper Kevin McDermott is the lowest rated Vikings player at 50 overall. Thats fine with him, though. For a long time, long snappers werent even included in Madden. Its a start.

-- Defensive tackle Linval Joseph is the strongest Vikings player (97 strength). Wide receiver Jarius Wright is a surprise finisher as the weakest Vikings player (42). Forbath (44), quarterback Case Keenum (47) and Sherels (47) are stronger than Wright, apparently.

-- Offensive linemen Jeremiah Sirles and Joe Berger, as well as DT Tom Johnson are tied with a 60 speed rating the slowest Viking.