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Best NFL Players Ever Each Team NFC North

All-Time NFL Rankings

by Riley Baines
Best NFL Players Ever NFC North

Best NFL Players Ever Each Team NFC North

In the frosty heartland of the NFL, the NFC North unfolds tales of legendary clashes, icons of the gridiron, and the echoes of roaring fans that have stood the test of time. From the storied Lambeau Field with its Cheeseheads to the roaring fans at Soldier Field, from the Viking’s conquests of the North to the resilient spirit of the Lions in the Motor City, each team has offered football folklore that captures the imagination. It’s a division where legacies are forged in the cold, where every yard gained feels like a battle won. As we delve into the heart of the ‘Black and Blue Division’, let’s journey through each team’s storied past, unearthing the best NFL players the NFC North has ever witnessed.


Best Vikings Player Ever – Randy Moss

Runner Ups: Fran Tarkenton, Alan Page, Adrian Peterson

In the annals of Minnesota Vikings history, few names shine as brightly as Randy Moss. Bursting onto the scene in 1998, Moss electrified the NFL from the outset, leaving an indelible mark on the Vikings franchise. While there have been many greats to don the purple and gold, Moss’s case for being the best is compelling. Here’s why:

  1. Rookie Sensation: Moss’s rookie year was nothing short of phenomenal. He racked up 17 touchdowns, a rookie record that remains unbroken, and amassed 1,313 yards, instantly establishing himself as the league’s most lethal deep threat.
  2. Game-Changer: Moss didn’t just catch passes; he changed games. His presence on the field forced defenses to adjust, often requiring double or triple coverage. This opened up opportunities for other players, enhancing the overall potency of the Vikings’ offense.
  3. Record-Setting Season: In 2007, while with the New England Patriots, Moss set the single-season touchdown reception record with 23. However, his foundational skills and elite talent were cultivated during his tenure with the Vikings.
  4. Unparalleled Athleticism: Moss’s combination of height, speed, and leaping ability was unprecedented. He could outrun most defenders, out-jump the rest, and his hands were as sure as they come. His signature move, the ‘Mossing’ of defenders, became synonymous with dominating the opposition.
  5. Big Moments, Big Plays: Moss had a penchant for showing up in big moments. Whether it was a primetime game or a high-stakes playoff matchup, Randy delivered unforgettable plays time and time again.
  6. Cultural Impact: Beyond his on-field exploits, Moss became an integral part of the NFL’s cultural tapestry. Phrases like “You got Mossed!” became part of the sport’s lexicon, indicating a player being spectacularly outplayed, usually in an aerial duel.
  7. Legacy and Stats: During his time with the Vikings, Moss secured his place among the all-time greats in receiving yards, touchdowns, and receptions. While he played for several teams over his career, his most iconic moments and significant impact undoubtedly came in a Vikings uniform.

While legends like Fran Tarkenton, Cris Carter, and Alan Page have all left their mark on the Minnesota Vikings franchise, the sheer magnetism and game-changing ability of Randy Moss make a powerful argument for him being the best Vikings player ever. His name evokes memories of long bombs, incredible catches, and a player who could ignite the stadium with a single play.


Best Bears Player Ever – Walter Payton

Runner Ups: Dick Butkus, Mike Singletary, Gale Sayers

n the storied history of the Chicago Bears, a franchise rich with legends like Dick Butkus, Mike Singletary, and Gale Sayers, Walter Payton emerges as a figure of singular greatness. Known affectionately as “Sweetness,” Payton’s impact on the Bears and the NFL is immeasurable. Let’s dive into why Walter Payton can be firmly argued as the best Chicago Bear of all time:

  1. Consistency and Durability: Throughout his 13-season NFL career, all with the Bears, Payton missed only one game. This ironman streak showcased not just his physical resilience but also his unwavering commitment to the game and his team.
  2. All-Time Rushing Leader: When he retired in 1987, Payton was the NFL’s all-time leading rusher with 16,726 yards—a record that stood for nearly two decades. In an era characterized by hard-nosed defense and gritty play, this was a testament to his exceptional ability.
  3. Versatility: More than just a runner, Payton was a true all-around back. He was a capable receiver out of the backfield and was even known to throw a touchdown pass now and again. His versatility made him a nightmare for defensive coordinators.
  4. Unparalleled Work Ethic: Stories of Payton’s training regimen have become the stuff of legend. His hill-running exercises and tireless workouts set the standard for what it meant to be a professional.
  5. A Heart as Big as His Talent: Off the field, Walter’s generosity and kindness were as renowned as his on-field exploits. His humanitarian efforts and charity work, particularly for children, showcased the depth of his character.
  6. MVP and Super Bowl Champion: In 1977, Payton was named the NFL MVP, solidifying his status as the league’s premier player. But perhaps more sweetly, he finally clinched a Super Bowl ring in the Bears’ dominant 1985 season.
  7. Legacy and Impact: Payton’s influence extended beyond the football field. The NFL’s Man of the Year Award, which recognizes an NFL player’s off-the-field charity work alongside his playing excellence, was renamed the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in his honor.
  8. Leadership and Dedication: Teammates and coaches often spoke of Walter’s leadership qualities. He wasn’t just the best player on the team; he was its heart and soul, pushing his teammates to give their all every single down.

In a city like Chicago, where football is deeply woven into the cultural fabric, Walter Payton is not just a sports icon; he’s a beloved figure whose legend transcends the game. The blend of his unrivaled talent, work ethic, and off-field impact makes a compelling case for “Sweetness” being the greatest Chicago Bear ever.


Best Packers Player Ever – Aaron Rodgers

Runner Ups: Brett Favre, Don Hutson, Bart Starr 

The Green Bay Packers, one of the NFL’s most storied franchises, has been blessed with a lineage of football titans. Yet, in the modern era, the shadow cast by Aaron Rodgers is long and significant. Many argue he’s not only one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history but also the best player to ever wear the green and gold. Here’s a look at why Aaron Rodgers has a strong claim to the title of the best Packer ever:

  1. Precision Passing: Rodgers is renowned for his unparalleled accuracy. His ability to place the ball in the tightest of windows, often on the move or under duress, has made him one of the most efficient quarterbacks ever. His touchdown-to-interception ratio is consistently among the best in the league.
  2. Football IQ: Rodgers’ mastery of the game extends beyond physical skills. His pre-snap reads, audibles, and ability to dissect defenses in real-time are testament to his exceptional football intelligence.
  3. Clutch Gene: Rodgers has an uncanny ability to perform at his best when the stakes are the highest. Numerous game-winning drives, last-minute Hail Mary passes, and playoff performances solidify his reputation as a clutch player.
  4. Athleticism: Not just a pocket passer, Rodgers’ mobility allows him to extend plays, find open receivers, or take off and run when needed. This dual-threat capability adds another layer of difficulty for opposing defenses.
  5. Leadership: Over the years, Rodgers has become the undeniable leader of the Packers, both on and off the field. His calm demeanor in high-pressure situations, combined with his fierce competitiveness, sets the tone for the entire team.
  6. MVP and Super Bowl Success: Rodgers’ individual accolades are numerous, including multiple NFL MVP awards. Moreover, his stellar performance in Super Bowl XLV led the Packers to victory, earning him Super Bowl MVP honors.
  7. Resilience: Throughout his career, Rodgers has faced adversity, be it injuries or off-field challenges. Time and again, he’s demonstrated resilience, returning from setbacks with renewed determination and often better performance.
  8. Legacy Building: Even as his career continues, Rodgers’ influence on the game is undeniable. His unique throwing angles, quick release, and innovative play extend his influence to younger QBs who look up to his style of play.

The debate between Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers as the best Packer ever is a testament to the franchise’s rich quarterback history. Yet, for many fans and analysts, Rodgers’ combination of sheer talent, intelligence, leadership, and success gives him the edge. In a land of legends, Aaron Rodgers stands tall, making a compelling case for being the greatest Green Bay Packer of all time.


Best Lions Player Ever – Barry Sanders

Runner Ups: Calvin Johnson, Joe Schmidt, Matthew Stafford

When Detroit Lions aficionados reminisce about their team’s history, a name that undoubtedly rises above the rest is Barry Sanders. Despite playing for a Lions franchise that often struggled, Sanders’ electrifying presence on the field elevated not only the team’s play but also the spirits of its fans. Let’s delve into the reasons Barry Sanders is often heralded as the greatest Detroit Lion ever:

  1. Elusiveness Defined: Barry Sanders’ running style was truly one-of-a-kind. His unique combination of agility, balance, and speed made him nearly impossible to tackle. Countless highlight reels depict defenders grasping at air as Sanders danced around, through, and past them.
  2. Consistent Excellence: Over his ten-year career, Sanders eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards every season, an incredible testament to his consistent performance and durability.
  3. Historic Seasons: His 1997 season was legendary. Sanders rushed for 2,053 yards, becoming a member of the elite 2,000-yard club. Moreover, he shared the NFL MVP title that year.
  4. Retirement in his Prime: One of the most surprising aspects of Sanders’ career was his early retirement at age 30. At the time of his retirement, he was less than 1,500 yards shy of breaking the NFL’s all-time rushing record, demonstrating his unparalleled talent and dominance in the league during his playing years.
  5. A Career Lion: Barry’s loyalty to the Lions was evident as he played his entire NFL career in Detroit, becoming the face of the franchise and an icon in the city.
  6. Character On and Off the Field: Barry was not just a phenomenal player; he was a class act. Known for his humility, he often celebrated touchdowns by simply handing the ball to the referee, letting his play do the talking. Off the field, he was equally respected for his character and philanthropy.
  7. Legacy and Influence: While the Lions might not have achieved significant postseason success during Sanders’ tenure, his impact on the game is undeniable. Many young running backs have cited Sanders as their inspiration, trying to emulate his signature moves and approach to the game.
  8. Hall of Famer: Barry Sanders’ excellence was recognized with his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004, his first year of eligibility.

Considering the sheer excitement he brought to every game, his undying commitment to the Lions, and his lasting influence on the game, it’s easy to understand why Barry Sanders is celebrated as the best player in the history of the Detroit Lions. In a league filled with greats, Sanders’ style and prowess stand distinct, making every Sunday he played a spectacle for fans and foes alike.


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