Fantasy Team Preview: Vikings
Overall outlook: Adrian Peterson is the headliner. Everyone else’s fortunes depend on Christian Ponder’s improvement.
Bye week: 5
Quarterback: Christian Ponder
Ranked 22nd among quarterbacks with 227.2 fantasy points in 2012 … Was 23rd in TD passes (18) and 25th in passing yards (2,935) … Ranked 21st with 483 passing attempts, and that figure doesn’t project to improve with Adrian Peterson lining up in the backfield … Ran 60 times for 253 yards and two scores, which isn’t bad … Passer rating improved from 70.1 in rookie season to 81.2 last year, but if he slips at all, Matt Cassel could come off the bench … Should be one of the bottom five QBs picked (if he gets picked) in your fantasy draft.
Running back: Adrian Peterson
Dominated his position with 307.4 FOXSports.com fantasy points in 2012 … Led the NFL with 2,097 rushing yards, ranked second with 348 carries, was T-3 with 12 rushing touchdowns, and averaged an astonishing 6.0 yards per carry … Added 40 receptions for 217 yards and a score, so that PPR owners were able to confirm his awesomeness as well … If you don’t draft Purple Jesus first overall, you’re overthinking.
Running back: Toby Gerhart
Ran just 50 times for 169 yards and a score in 2012 … Only worth drafting if you get Peterson first overall and want to get his handcuff.
Wide receiver: Greg Jennings
Ranked 71st among wideouts with 60.6 fantasy points in 2012 … Caught just 36 passes for 366 yards and four touchdowns while missing eight games in an injury-marred season … Over the prior four seasons in Green Bay, averaged 73 receptions, 1,157 yards and 8.5 touchdowns … Will turn 30 on September 21 … Jennings is being pegged as a WR3, because even though he’s clearly the Vikes’ best receiver, Aaron Rodgers isn’t throwing him the ball anymore.
Wide receiver: Jerome Simpson
Caught just 26 passes for 274 yards in 2012, after teasing fantasy owners with 50 catches, 725 yards and four scores as a Bengal in 2011 … Your league needs to be deep for you to consider Simpson.
Wide receiver: Cordarrelle Patterson
The Vikings drafted Patterson in the first round out of Tennessee … Caught 46 passes for 778 yards and five touchdowns in 2012, his only season at Tennessee … Big (6’2”, 216 pounds) and fast, but raw and saddled with Ponder as his QB … Tough to see him cracking fantasy WR5 status on draft day.
Tight end: Kyle Rudolph
Ranked ninth with 105.3 fantasy points in 2012 … Ranked 15th among tight ends in receptions (53) and 25th in yards (493), but tied for second (with Jimmy Graham, and behind Rob Gronkowski) with nine touchdowns, as Ponder loved throwing to him in the red zone … Expect more of the same in 2013, and draft Rudolph as a top-10 tight end.
Placekicker: Blair Walsh
Ranked third among kickers with 151 fantasy points in 2012 … Was tied for third with 38 field goal attempts, and converted 35 of them … Middle of the pack with 36 extra points … Some analysts have Walsh ranked as the top overall fantasy kicker, and he’s a consensus top-five pick at the position.
Team defense (DST)
Ranked 14th with 121 fantasy points in 2012 … Ranked sixth in sacks (44), T-8 in fumble recoveries (12), T-14 in points allowed (348), 16th in yards allowed (5,600) and T-27 in interceptions (10) … Could get a special teams boost with Patterson returning kicks, and possibly punts as well … Hard to see this unit cracking the top 12 DSTs on draft day.