Minnesota Vikings Fantasy Breakdown
The Vikings have been somewhat of a hotbed for fantasy studs the last few seasons and I don’t think that’ll end in 2020. Let’s dive into this positional fantasy breakdown of the Minnesota Vikings.
Offseason additions: WR Justin Jefferson (R)
WR K.J. Osborn (R), QB Nate Stanley (R),
Offseason subtractions: WR Stefon Diggs,
WR Laquon Treadwell,
Quarterback: Kirk Cousins had a little bit of a down year for fantasy last season. He finished as the QB #18, his numbers weren’t great in 15 games 3,603 yards with 26 TDs against only 6 picks. With a career high QBR of 107.4, the problem here was volume. He only attempted 444 passes in 2019 down from 606 the previous year which he finished as the QB #13. I don’t think he’ll drop off much without Diggs, he just needs more game scripts that entail a pass heavy course of action. In a run first offense, Cousins is capped but remains a solid QB2 and an elite streaming option. With an ADP of #118 he’s a safe pick but is a lot more valuable in 2QB and superflex leagues.
Running Back: Star RB Dalvin Cook had his most successful year of his young career but still failed to play in every game. He’s played in only 29 of a possible 48 regular season games so far and remains an injury risk. He was hampered by nagging injuries late in the season and still managed 1,654 yards from scrimmage on 303 touches and 13 touchdowns in 14 games. Cook led the league with 21 carries inside the five-yard-line scoring all 13 of his TDs on the ground. With Diggs in Buffalo, Cook will most likely be more involved in the passing game giving him an even higher ceiling. A current ADP of #6 is obviously a fair price for last year’s RB #6 but if Cook can manage to play all 16 games he’ll most likely be well worth a top 5 pick. His ADP will undoubtedly drop significantly due to his claims that he’ll hold out of all team activities until he receives a “reasonable” contract extension. That’s definitely enough to scare away fantasy owners but like our very own Joey Fickle said “It’s simply a negotiating strategy.” It’s way too early to be concerned but definitely monitor the situation. Next in line is sophomore RB Alexander Mattison who had an impressive rookie campaign with a 4.6 YPC on 100 carries for 462 yards. Mattison is the most valuable handcuff in fantasy football and should be stashed in every league. Minnesota ran the ball on 48% of their plays which was good for 4th in the NFL. Mattison could be a league winner if Cook misses significant time and should be scooped up near his ADP of #120. If you draft Cook make sure you get Mattison even if it means reaching a few rounds, it could a huge difference maker.
Wide Receiver: There’s no doubt this offense focuses on running the ball but this is still the offense that saw Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs score 573 combined PPR fantasy points 2 seasons ago. That year Thielen was the WR #7 and Diggs finished only three spots behind him. Last season had a much different result but Thielen only played 10 games while battling issues with his back. A lot of people are not too high on the former undrafted wideout but I believe he can put up huge numbers again. Let’s not forget that before last season he had back-to-back 1,200+ yard seasons and finished as the WR #8 and #7. With Diggs out of the picture and little time for Cousins to build chemistry with his new receivers, Thielen will be even more of a target monster. If he can stay healthy I expect him to easily outperform his current ADP of #32. Rookie 1st round draft pick Justin Jefferson will start for Minnesota and could pick up right where he left off at LSU with his nation leading 111 receptions. He could be quite a steal even if his ADP rises from #119 if he can get on the same page as Cousins. Jefferson ran 78% of his routes out of the slot at LSU so it will be interesting to see how things work out with him and Thielen. The rookie could get a good share of targets with not too much competition behind him. Jefferson is one of my favorite rookies for fantasy this year and could be a very sneaky late round stash. Next in line is sophomore 7th round pick Olabisi Johnson who had a decent start to his career garnering 31/294/3 on 45 targets and former Titan Tajae Sharpe who signed a $1 million one-year-deal with Minnesota this offseason.
Tight End: Veteran TE Kyle Rudolph had a solid season finishing as the TE #14 with a stat line of 39/367/6 on 48 targets. Rudolph had some amazing touchdown catches and continues to be a great asset in the running game. He started all 16 games but shouldn’t be counted on for more than a backup and streaming option. Sophomore TE Irv Smith Jr. had a successful rookie season putting up fairly similar numbers to Rudolph’s with 36/311/2 on 47 targets. He also played in all 16 games and drew 7 starts. Smith Jr. will most likely have a much larger role in 2020 and could be a great waiver wire pickup. His current ADP is #208 (11 spots ahead of Rudolph) so you probably won’t have to draft them unless you’re in a deep league.
Defense: Minnesota has been one of the better defenses for fantasy football as of late finishing as the #6 best D/ST in each of the past two seasons. However, they did lose some veteran star power this offseason, Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes and Linval Joseph just to name a few. I don’t think they’ll fall too far due to their playmakers that they still have and the fact that they stocked up on defense in the draft including two cornerbacks in the first 3 rounds. The Vikings should continue to be in the conversation for fantasy defenses in 2020.
There’s plenty of upside and opportunity here but there wasn’t a whole lot of volume from the passing game last year. I feel like there will be a couple of studs, a couple of steals and unfortunately there will most likely be a bust or two. Good luck!
Overview from a fan:
Quarterback: Kirk Cousins pending a players draft strategy and league they're in Cousins might have some value pending on game scripts like you stated.
Running Back: Barring a holdout from Dalvin Cook I personally think he could very well be a top 5 fantasy back due to the type of football that the Vikings want to play. We can't forget about Alexander Mattison and Mike Boone if Dalvin does indeed hold out. I think both Mattison and Boone can both hold fantasy relevance after seeing what they did last year with their opportunities.
Wide Receiver: I think you cleared up the Vikings WR situation fairly well. I would be curious to see how Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson both try to fit in the slot where both play the majority of their snaps. A name that personally I would keep an eye on is Quartney Davis. I liked his college tape and am interested to see what he does with some kind of opportunity.
Tight End: Again not much to say here you did a solid job clearing this situation up but fan experience is I think Irv Smith Jr will outperform Kyle Rudolph in fantasy this season, if the opportunity arises.
Defense: As long as Mike Zimmer is the Vikings coach the Vikings will always have a solid defense. He's smart and knows what to look for in players. I'm excited to see what Jeff Gladney and Cameron Dantzler can bring to a weak cornerback unit with the loss of Rhodes and Waynes. We also brought in Michael Pierce to fill the void of Linval Joseph. We also brought in a young linebacker Troy Dye to add versatility to an already decent LB group. Also adding to the secondary rookies Josh Metellus, Brian Cole II to backup Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris
Final Thoughts: I have fairly high expectations for a young Vikings team that should gel together and the Vikings run game should go smoother with Gary Kubiak taking lead on offense and adding Ezera Cleveland to the o-line