FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Today's Early Bird Report includes a Falcons player at the top of a list of the greatest players in EA Sports "Madden NFL" history as well as the Vikings locking up a key defender.
MAIN FALCONS HEADLINES
NFL.com: The 19 best 99-rated 'Madden' players of all-time
If Bo Jackson was the ultimate cheat code in Tecmo Bowl, Michael Vick is held in the same regard for the "Madden" series. Equipped with one of the strongest arms in the game and the speed to rival even the fastest players, Vick was oftentimes unstoppable. In "Madden 2004", he was downright invincible.
The 2004 "Madden" iteration of Vick was so good that it earned the No. 1 spot in NFL.com's list of the top players with a 99-overall rating in the game's history, despite never actually earning a 99-rating.
"It's true. Michael Vick received no 99 overall ratings from EA Sports," NFL.com's Nick Toney writes. "And yet ... he's hands-down the greatest 'Madden' player of all time. His 2004 avatar was invincible. He had the arm strength to hit Peerless Price on deep route after deep route or Brian Finneran over the middle (just flip the play because Vick's a lefty). He had the speed and acceleration to roll around the field with immunity."
BIGGEST NEWS FROM AROUND THE NFL
ESPN: Danielle Hunter agrees to extension with Vikings
The Vikings have one of the league's best defenses, and they just locked down one of their key pieces to a contract extension. Fourth-year defensive end Danielle Hunter reportedly agreed to a five-year contract worth an average of $14.4 million, according to ESPN's Dan Graziano.
In his three years in the NFL since the Vikings drafted him in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft, Hunter has recorded 25.5 sacks, including 12.5 sacks in 2016.
"He's come in and performed extremely well," Vikings general manager Rick Spielman told ESPN's Courtney Cronin. "I think he was 20 years old when we drafted him. If he stays healthy and continues to develop and grow as a football player, I'm sure he'll get another opportunity to get another significant contract."
Here are some more articles from around the league: