NFC North Fantasy Focus: Minnesota Vikings

by Michael Drahota | Posted on Monday, August 25th, 2014 | 0

The NFC North is poised to be one of the most stacked divisions in all of the NFL in terms of fantasy prospects for 2014.

Last week, TSM Plug broke down the virtual gridiron potential for the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, and Detroit Lions. Today, we’re back with the NFC North’s last team, the Minnesota Vikings.

The Viking undoubtedly have more question marks than the other three teams in their division, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t without a few potentially productive fantasy stars of their own. Let’s take a look at how Minnesota could help you win this year.


Obviously at the top of the Vikings’ list is star running back Adrian Peterson. “AP” has been a fixture near the top of NFL drafts since he blew up the league in hi rookie season. He was the top player off the board heading into 2013 after an insane 2012 that saw him come within a few short yards of breaking Eric Dickerson’s all-time single season rushing record.

But defenses stacking the box against him and injuries cut into his production last year, when Peterson rushed for only 1,266 yards and 10 scores. Those are great numbers by most running backs’ standards, but not for Peterson.

Peterson could be poised to return to his throne as fantasy’s top back under new offensive coordinator Norv Turner, but you should most likely exercise a bit of caution when drafting him.

After all, you’ll almost certainly need one of the top four picks to grab “AP,” and the fact that his body has taken such abuse is a concerning factor. He broke down and was ineffective towards the end of the year in 2013, resulting in many fantasy owners being left empty handed during their playoffs.

At nearly 29 years old, Peterson is reaching the inevitable age where running backs start to decline, and he’s taken a lot more punishment than most with his physical running style.

He’s no doubt a superstar, but you may want to spend your early round pick on Jamaal Charles or Lesean McCoy if you can.


As for the Vikings’ receivers, the team possesses a very intriguing breakout candidate in second-year man Cordarrelle Patterson. He turned it on late in his rookie year, flashing signs that he could potentially blow it up in 2014.

He’s also a very strong return man, making him a dual threat (and maybe even triple if he gets a few rushing attempts).

The only downfall of Patterson is that he’s relatively pricey due to his hype. Currently being selected at an Average Draft Position (ADP) of 46 in Yahoo standard leagues, Patterson may be worth the gamble.

Minnesota also has a strong tight end in Kyle Rudolph, who signed a big contract extension in the offseason. Rudolph should be targeted many times in the red zone throughout 2014, making him a bargain for his current ADP of 69.

Today the Vikings announced that veteran Matt Cassel will start over first round draft pick Teddy Bridgewater, who has looked impressive in preseason action (via Jay Glazer):

Both will have their fair share of decent games, but it’s clear that Peterson is the true fantasy star of this team. Avoid drafting a Vikings quarterback unless you absolutely have no choice.

The Vikings defense was one of the worst against the pass last year, and they lost star defensive end Jared Allen to the division rival Bears. Their defense is going to be put in a ton of tough spots playing against the high octane offenses of the NFC North, so don’t bother drafting them.

Although he had a down year in 2013, Vikings kicker Blair Walsh can hit from beyond 50 yards. He’s as serviceable a kicker as any to take in the last round.

About the Author

Both an avid NFL fan and analyst, I’ve been following professional football since the late 1980s. I’m also an avid fantasy football player with several league victories under my belt. Check out my NFL articles on TSM for the latest NFL news, highlights, predictions, and more.

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