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The Minnesota Vikings have quietly come a long way these past few seasons. A team that used to only be about handing Adrian Peterson the ball and letting him do his thing have slowly become a more balanced offence. Long gone are the days of Christian Ponder over throwing open wide receivers as Teddy “two gloves” Bridgewater has, at long last, given the Vikings the quarterback stability they have needed since Daunte Culpepper left. Vikings fans can rest easy knowing those dark days are in the past and that the future is bright and full of wonder in the “Land of 1000 Lakes”.
The Vikings enter the 2016 campaign as a sleeper Super Bowl pick built on a strong running game, consistent passing attack, and maybe the best defence in the NFL. Much of the Vikings success will depend on the continued growth of QB Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater has made strides in each of his first two seasons in the NFL and could be primed for a breakout year. While he probably will never put up crazy numbers, like some other QB’s in the NFC North, Bridgewater’s value lies in his ability to manage a game, like the Chiefs Alex Smith for comparison. While normally not great news for fantasy owners Bridgewater does carry some QB2 value and, if he puts it all together, he could flirt with QB1 numbers if the rumours of more passing opportunities are true.
The main reason why Bridgewater does not have to throw the ball as often as some QB’s is because he has future hall of famer Adrian Peterson to hand the ball to. Peterson is still productive despite being 31 year old, usually when a RB experiences a drop off in value, but Peterson ran for 1,485 and 11 touchdowns last year and will probably come close to those numbers again this year, as the Vikings are still very much his team. AP is a RB1 and will probably be chosen in the top-10 of all fantasy drafts, so get him early if you want him.
Wide Receiver is a position that the Vikings have tried to address for years now. They drafted Cordarrelle Patterson, brought in Mike Wallace but none of that seemed to work. Enter Laquon Treadwell. The Vikings first-round pick this year out of Ole Miss was the consensus number one wide out in the draft for most of the college season and yet fell to the Vikings at pick 21. Treadwell is a beast, he is very talented and should be one of the Vikings go to receiving options from day one. The Vikings run-first offence though limits his production but he is worth a late pick just because of how good he could be.
The other wide receiver worth picking in Minnesota is Stefon Diggs. Last year in his rookie season Diggs provided a much needed spark for the Vikings offence coming on strong late in the year. The second-year player out of Maryland will be in more of a slot receiver role this year, with Treadwell out wide, and that could boost Diggs’ fantasy potential. Again, he would only be worth a later pick because of the offence he plays in but there is WR2/FLEX potential.
Old reliable Kyle Rudolph is once again the Vikings tight end. Rudolph is not going to put up the same kind of stats Greg Olsen or Travis Kelce will put up but he is still a big, reliable target, who could soak up targets in the middle of the field and red zone. Rudolph falls under the category of “tight end you pick because all the great ones are already gone” but that does not mean he is not a useful player in the Vikings offence.
Essentially all Viking pass catchers are tied to Bridgewater’s (and Peterson’s) production. If the Vikings are committed to letting their young QB throw the ball more, then Treadwell, Diggs, and Rudolph could all become potential sleepers with higher value then currently projected. It is up to you, the drafter, to decide if you trust the Vikings enough to take the reigns off their offence.
Kicker Blair Walsh also has fantasy value. Do not let last years tragic playoff miss fool you into thinking he is not good. In reality there are very few better then Walsh at kicking field goals in the NFL. The Vikings also house one of the best defence’s in the league and have the to potential to be the top scoring defence in all of football.
QB Teddy Bridgewater; RB Adrian Peterson; WR Laquon Treadwell; WR Stefon Diggs; TE Kyle Rudolph; K Blair Walsh; Vikings D/ST