Whether people like it or not, fantasy football is one of the most popular activities in the history of mankind today (ok, maybe that was taken a little too far). But the point is, fantasy football is more common in an american household today than a Packer fan owning a farm.
Before disaster struck a week ago, the Minnesota Vikings’ offense looked like it would be the home of a few top fantasy performers in 2016. But now with the team’s quarterback situation up in la la land, the fantasy owners who thought they were clever for drafting Stefon Diigs in the third round have not stopped drowning their sorrows in beer and ice cream.
But fear not, Vikings Territory still has the breakdown of every possible Minnesota player that could make an impact in the fantasy world (also known as the world where Blair Walsh makes field goals to beat the Seahawks) this season.
The newest quarterback in Minnesota will be entering his sixth season in the NFL and he still has yet to make a Pro Bowl roster. To refresh one’s memory, some kid named Teddy made the Pro Bowl in 2015 after throwing for just 14 touchdowns in 16 games, so it is pretty mind boggling that Bradford has not even sniffed the grass at Aloha Stadium in Hawaii.
For this season, do not expect the new Vikings quarterback to light up the stat sheet right away. He just got in the building and he has not even been chewed out by Mike Zimmer yet, so give him some time to fit in.
Once he gets (hopefully) comfortable in the offense, there is a chance that he could eclipse Christian Ponder’s record setting season (hard to write that with a straight face) in 2012 when he threw for 18 touchdowns.
ESPN 2016 Projection: 11.5 ppg (3,213 yards, 17 TDs, 11 INTs)
Yahoo! 2016 Projection: 11.7 ppg (3,313 yards, 19 TDs, 13 INTs)
What is there really to say about Peterson that has not been said before? Not counting 2014, Peterson has finished as one of the top three fantasy running backs in five of eight seasons.
Some thought his production would slow down now that he is over 30-years-old, but he does not seem like he plans to hit the breaks anytime soon. Bottom line, the person that has Peterson on their fantasy team always has a very good chance of winning his or her league.
ESPN 2016 Projection: 14.2 ppg (339 touches, 1,427 rushing yards, 235 receiving yards, 12 total TDs)
Yahoo! 2016 Projection: 13.5 ppg (333 touches, 1,342 rushing yards, 222 receiving yards, 11 total TDs)
Is this the year that Minnesota finally makes McKinnon a significant part of their offense? He is more than capable of producing as both a rusher and a pass catcher.
10 touches each game does not seem out of the question and based on his average yards per touch in 2015 (6.1), a breakout season could be in order for the Vikings’ young running back.
ESPN 2016 Projection: 5 ppg (117 touches, 358 rushing yards, 284 receiving yards, 3 total TDs)
Yahoo! 2016 Projection: 4.8 ppg (111 touches, 371 rushing yards, 226 receiving yards, 3 total TDs)
In his second NFL season, DIggs will be out to prove that his rookie year was no fluke. Based on the preseason he had, he looks more than ready to take the next step in becoming one of the league’s premier receivers.
As opposed to last year, he should see a lot of time in the slot this season. At this position on the field, he will be more able to use his advanced route running skills to his advantage.
His production may get off to a slow start until Bradford learns a majority of the offense. But it should not take too long for Diggs to become one Bradford’s favorite targets in 2016.
ESPN 2016 Projection: 6.7 ppg (66 catches, 818 receiving yards, 4 total TDs)
Yahoo! 2016 Projection: 7.2 ppg (63 catches, 821 receiving yards, 5 total TDs)
Listed as one of the top two receivers on Minnesota’s current depth chart, the Vikings are hoping that Johnson can finally turn into the player they have been hoping for since they brought him in two years ago.
Injuries have slowed him down in the past. But if he is able to play a full season, many trips to the end zone could be in Johnson’s future for 2016.
ESPN 2016 Projection: 2.7 ppg (23 catches, 322 receiving yards, 0 TDs)
Yahoo! 2016 Projection: 2.5 ppg (24 catches, 309 receiving yards, 2 TDs)
The expectations are high this season for Minnesota’s top pick of the 2016 NFL Draft. Can Treadwell live up to them?
He struggled a bit during the preseason, but that may have mostly been a result of who was throwing him the ball (Stave). If everything works out this year, he and DIggs could provide the Vikings with a formidable 1-2 punch in their receiving group.
ESPN 2016 Projection: 4.3 ppg (40 catches, 541 receiving yards, 3 TDs)
Yahoo! 2016 Projection: 5.4 ppg (45 catches, 623 receiving yards, 4 TDs)
Minnesota’s top tight end could actually benefit from Bradford playing under center this season. The tight end in an offense ran by Bradford usually finishes the year as one of his team’s top receivers.
Rudolph is plenty capable of having a big season and he could very well lead the Vikings in catches when the year is all said and done.
He has never had over 100 targets in a season during his career, but Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz finished the 2015 season with 112 targets with Bradford as the team’s quarterback for most of the year.
ESPN 2016 Projection: 4.8 ppg (50 catches, 526 receiving yards, 4 TDs)
Yahoo! 2016 Projection: 4.6 ppg, (48 catches, 496 receiving yards, 4 TDs)
In order for Minnesota to have a dominant fantasy defense in 2016, they are going to have to up their turnover totals from a season ago. The Vikings defense only had 22 takeaways in 2015 (18th) and 19 in 2014 (25th). With all their starters back from last year, Minnesota’s defense will be looking to finish the upcoming season at the top.
Although he has not preformed up to his expectations as a wide receiver, Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson is everything a team could ask for in a kick returner. Combined with the team’s punt returner in cornerback Marcus Sherels, Minnesota always has a chance to run a kick or punt into the end zone for six.
ESPN 2016 Projection: 6.0 ppg (45 sacks, 22 turnovers, 4 TDs)
Yahoo! 2016 Projections: 6.5 ppg (43 sacks, 25 turnovers, 3 TDs)
Can Walsh put his disastrous end to last year behind him? Well kicking indoors at the Vikings’ new home in U.S. Bank Stadium should definitely help.
The best season of his young career (2012) came when Minnesota played their home games indoors at the Metrodome. Scott Norwood was never able to recover from his missed Super Bowl kick in 1990 for the Buffalo Bills and the Vikings are hoping that Walsh does not fall down a similar path in 2016.
ESPN 2016 Projection: 8.6 ppg (31/36 FGs, 34/36 XP)
Yahoo! 2016 Projection: 7.3 ppg (28/33 FGs, 34 XP)