After reading Blake’s recent article on his “best of division” I thought… I fancy a bit of that. So here goes *cue the abuse for my selections*.
Quarterback: Aaron Rodgers (Packers)
Couldn’t really be anyone else really could it? One of the best QB’s in the game at the moment – no brainer to select the 2014 MVP to lead my team.
Running Back: Adrian Peterson (Vikings)
Again this was a no-brainer an absolute monster in the trenches. More than happy to have him carry the team and impose the all-important running game.
Wide Receivers: Alshon Jeffrey (Bears), Jordy Nelson (Packers) & Randall Cobb (Packers)
I have put in Jeffrey who was a star on offense for the Bears (albeit on a Bears team that didn’t make the playoffs and had less than 4,000 passing yards). But if you can make Jay Cutler not look awful then you must be a pretty good player.
Nelson is a pick based on his previous seasons, as the only action he saw this year was limited to pre-season. You saw just how valuable he was to the Packers offense though, as without him they really stalled, so he makes the cut.
In Cobb I’ve selected one of the best slot receivers in the NFL. While he struggled last year to get separation I think that was because teams worked out that without Cobb the Packers had no threats last year and therefore they just constantly double teamed him.
Tight End: Kyle Randolph (Vikings)
To be totally honest this was a difficult choice, as there aren’t any great Tight Ends in the division. You could make a case for a number of players, but I opted for Randolph as I think he would offer a bit of protection to the QB and RB positions.
Left Tackle: Matt Kalil (Vikings)
A good offensive line starts at Left Tackle, and with the Vikings mainstay we have a monster player who produces when asked to give his QB protection to throw downfield.
Left Guard: Josh Sitton (Packers)
There is a reason why Sitton has been to 3 Pro-Bowls and he will realistically be offered a third contract at the Packers.
Centre: Corey Linsley (Packers)
I’ve gone for Linsley at Centre because he is fantastic, he actually helped the offensive line perform when the Packers were banged up last year and putting him in between two Packers guards (who were easy selections) would help with continuity.
Right Guard: T.J. Lang (Packers)
T.J. Lang has to be one of the most under-rated offensive linesman in the NFL. In my eyes he is a big reason as to why Eddie Lacy had such a breakout season as a rookie, and without him the Packers look to struggle against effective pash rushers as well as establish the running game (which I’ll do with AP)
Right Tackle: Kyle Long (Bears)
For the above read the entire Bears OL, as he is effectively the only player that can hold their head up high on that line. Gets selected for that reason.
Defensive ends: Ezekiel Ansah (Lions), Mike Daniels (Packers)
Ansah really pushed on last year in the absence of Suh. He made the NFL top 100 players for the first time this year, and based on how he has progressed I can’t see him falling out of that short of injury.
Daniels too very impressive last year in a much improved Packers defence. He gives the team a bit of bite in the trenches and would stop any player that gets into range of his long arms.
Defensive Tackle: Linval Joseph (Vikings)
One of the best defensive tackles in the league, and a big reason as to why the Vikings went to the playoffs. He allows his Linebackers and Safeties the opportunity to exploit match ups and make big time plays.
Linebackers: Anthony Barr (Vikings), Clay Matthews (Packers), Danny Trevathan (Bears), Julius Peppers (Packers)
Looking at the Linebackers, I can’t see any running back wanting to run, and I can’t see a QB feeling comfortable either.
Barr provides me a really good pass rush from the left, while still knowing when he needs to drop back into coverage and with his speed he can cover most Tight Ends in the league.
Matthews is best played on the outside, but he is a real contributor to a team wherever he plays and his last season and a half on the inside he has been impressive.
Trevathan was one of the least talked about players on the SuperBowl winning Broncos, but his play let Miller, Ware and others focus entirely on their job and not have to worry about covering the middle.
Julius Peppers is selected to give a bit of bite to this line, even at his advanced age he is contributing and getting after players. An aggressive defender who will get in the face of the opposition
Cornerbacks: Darious Slay (Lions), Xavier Rhodes (Vikings)
Slay is a good Cornerback and gives the Lions some resemblance of coverage in the backfield, with the pass rush generated by my front 7 he will thrive.
Rhodes has the size and frame to make plays and cover players all over the field, would be a great foil to Slay.
Safeties: Harrison Smith (Vikings), Haha Clinton-Dix (Packers)
Smith is one of the best Safeties in the League, if you look at the Vikings tape from last year, see a big stop or a big play on defense and pause it. I guarantee you see Smith in the frame – he has that ability to see things before they happen and make big stops when he needs to.
Haha has transformed the Packers back field, offering deep coverage and wrecking anything in his path. He will become a great of the game.
Kicker: Blair Walsh (Vikings)
I know he missed a kick. The kick that will be played over and over again. But while there are other kickers in the league that are good I’m sticking by this guy. He made plenty of kicks in the lead up to the playoffs and I’m not going to judge him on one miss.