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Wednesday, August 21, 2013
#NFLRank: NFC North in 71-80

By Kevin Seifert

Let's check in with the three NFC North players who are among those ranked between 71-80 in our #NFLRank project, an ESPN effort to identify the top 100 offensive and top 100 defensive players in the NFL. As always, our portion of both lists are updated at the bottom.

Offense
72. Minnesota Vikings center John Sullivan
Stats & Info: Is Adrian Peterson making Sullivan look good, or is it the other way around? Vikings rushers had 14 rushes of at least 20 yards up the middle last year, more than twice as many as any other team (Buccaneers, Titans and Bills had six).
Seifert comment: Sullivan was a Pro Bowl alternate last season and had as good of a season as any center in the NFL. He appears to have recovered fully from offseason microfracture surgery on his knee.

77. Minnesota Vikings receiver Greg Jennings
Stats & Info: Jennings provides a much-needed deep threat for the Vikings. Since 2008, Jennings ranks 11th in receptions and tied for sixth in touchdowns on throws of 15 or more yards downfield. The Vikings ranked last in the NFL in both categories last season.
Seifert comment: Those statistics are accurate, but the Vikings are hoping Jennings simply provides a reliable intermediate target for quarterback Christian Ponder.

Defense
76. Detroit Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley
Stats & Info: Since drafting Fairley in 2011, the Lions' defense has allowed 3.6 yards per rush with Fairley on the field and 5.4 yards per rush with him off the field.
Seifert comment: There is little doubt about Fairley's talent. The key for him is staying on the field. He has missed nine games in two seasons.

NFC North showing to date:

Offense
72. Sullivan
77. Jennings
94. Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford
97. Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler

Defense
76. Fairley
81. Chicago Bears cornerback Tim Jennings
92. Green Bay Packers cornerback Tramon Williams
95. Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith

Here is a one-stop link for all of our #NFLRank coverage on this blog.