If you read John Laub’s 2022 Fantasy Football Awards, you saw the Minnesota Vikings were well represented.
The No. 1 wide receiver on his list was Justin Jefferson. He finished first in targets, receptions, yards, and Fantasy points per game. Oh, and he was the top overall Fantasy Football player on his list, getting more than twice as many votes as the No. 2 on the list, Jalen Hurts.
T.J. Hockenson came in second in voting behind Travis Kelce. He split time with the Lions and the Vikings and was one of only three tight ends to get over 200 Fantasy points in PPR leagues.
Kirk Cousins was the same last year as he was the year before and the year before that. He finished with over 4,500 passing yards and once again was a solid top-10 fantasy QB.
Dalvin Cook ended the season as an RB8/RB10 depending on your scoring system.
It was a very good team in the fantasy world as well as on the field.
Minnesota Vikings Fantasy Preview
Key Subtractions and Additions
Subtractions: Irv Smith (TE), Adam Thielen (WR), Josh Rosen (QB), James O’Shaughnessy (TE)
Additions: Jaren Hall (QB), Jordan Addison (WR), DeWayne McBride (RB)
Kirk Cousins, Nick Mullens, Jaren Hall
Kirk Cousins is not a flashy Fantasy QB. Since he entered the league in 2012, he has only had two years where he ran for over 150 yards. He has run for only one TD in four of the last five years. Last year he doubled that and ran for two. What he does do very well is throw for over 4,000 yards every single year. He has missed that mark only once in the last eight years. He never misses games. And now with the Vikings drafting Jordan Addison, he has an upgrade over Adam Thielen as another weapon and will have a full year of Hockenson to throw to.
The coaching staff has made comments that they want to see Cousins run once in a while. He will never be a running QB but if he can squeeze out a fantasy point or two with his legs that would be a nice bonus. If I miss out on getting Mahomes, Allen, or Hurts I will keep drafting receivers and running backs and be very happy to draft Cousins somewhere near the 10th round. Expect him to outperform his ADP this year.
Nick Mullens is a capable backup with five years in the league but Jaren Hall was drafted in the fifth round of this year’s draft. With looming cap problems, this will probably be Cousins’ last year with the Vikings.
Trying to predict what happens if Cousins gets hurt is a bit tricky. If it is early in the year, I think Mullens gets the starting job. If it is mid-year or if looks like the Vikings are going to miss the playoffs anyway, then Hall may leapfrog into the starters’ position so they can see if he can be a legitimate replacement for Cousins. It makes no sense to draft Mullens but If you are in a deep dynasty league, Hall would be a great pick to take a chance on. Add both to your watch list because any QB that has Jefferson, Addison, and Hockenson to throw to is worth rostering.
Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison, Ty Chandler, DeWayne McBride
Dalvin Cook started every game last year for the first time in his career. He has had over 249 carries in each of his last four years. Because of his running style, those are some very hard yards. He will be turning 28 in October. This is about the age that most running backs have peaked and start to decline. He had surgery on his shoulder this offseason. All of this is just one part of why this RB8 from last year is being ranked no higher than RB16 this year. The other part of the equation is the salary cap that the Vikings are bumping up against. There is a very good chance that Cook won’t be part of this team after June 1. Until we find out which team Cook will be playing for, I am not going to draft him as my RB1.
For the last three or four years, every draft guide that listed running back handcuffs told you Alexander Mattison was someone you had to draft if you drafted Cook. And they were right. If he started a game, he would consistently get you nearly 20 Fantasy points and be a top 10 back. Last year with Cook starting every game the numbers fell just because he didn’t get the opportunities.
This year, having a chance to be the No. 1 back for the Vikings, his ADP will be climbing rapidly. With the prospect of no longer having Cook in front of him and no serious competition behind him, he will be a definite RB2 with RB1 upside.
Chandler was a fifth-round draft pick in 2021 and McBride was a seventh-rounder this year. Both runners have some upside. If Cook gets traded then I will be drafting the one that enters the season as the No. 2 running back on the depth chart as Mattison’s handcuff.
Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, K.J. Osborn, Jalen Reagor, Brandon Powell, Jalen Nailor
Even with Thielen gone, this is still a good group of wide receivers. It may even be better than last year.
There isn’t much more to be said about Jefferson. He will be the first player drafted in many fantasy leagues.
“Most Likely to Succeed in 2023: Jordan Addison to the Minnesota Vikings.” This is what Colin McTamany wrote in his draft awards article and I agree. He will be starting on day one and could be a Rookie of the Year candidate as long as Cousins remains healthy. Addison is currently ranked as WR31 in our most recent dynasty rankings.
K.J. Osborn was set up to be the No. 2 receiver this year. Then the draft happened. He has been a productive player when given the chance, he just doesn’t have the huge upside of Addison. It’s hard to make a case that he will be Fantasy relevant as the third receiver with Jefferson, Addison, and Hockenson on the team unless there is an injury.
T.J. Hockenson, Josh Oliver, Johnny Mundt
Hockenson is the only TE on the roster worth drafting. He should be one of the top five tight ends taken. He is ranked somewhere between TE3 and TE6 and I would have him closer to three. Oliver and Mundt can be totally ignored for Fantasy purposes.
The new defensive coordinator, Brian Flores has his work cut out for him. This unit ranked 22nd last year. Since I started writing this article the Vikings announced that Za’Darius Smith was traded to the Browns. With a very young secondary and losing a pass rusher that registered ten sacks last year, this is not a defense you want to have on your Fantasy team.
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— Lisa Ann (@thereallisaann) May 6, 2023