The release of Rick Gosselin's annual special-teams rankings provides us an opportunity for a multi-front evaluation of how each NFC North team fared in an area that can be difficult to appraise intuitively.
Offenses and defenses are typically ranked by yards and points allowed. For his special-teams analysis, Gosselin ranked teams based on a composite score in 22 categories of measurable production. Below, I've paired Gosselin's rankings with those from our friends at Football Outsiders, who determine a value based on teams' performance above or below the NFL average.
Football Outsiders: No. 1
Gosselin: No. 4 (tie)
Comment: Devin Hester recorded the highest punt return average in NFL history, and coordinator Dave Toub's coverage and blocking schemes are top notch.
Football Outsiders: No. 11
Gosselin: No. 15
Football Outsiders: No. 27
Gosselin: No. 29
Football Outsiders: No. 20
Gosselin: No. 18 (tie)
Comment: The Vikings had the best place-kicker and punter in the NFC North and their coverage was solid, but they had limited explosiveness in the return game.