As we inch closer to opening day of the NFL season, we want to get you prepared for your fantasy football drafts. That process begins with our team previews, where we’ll break down each team's offense while providing players we're targeting and, in some cases, avoiding.
Vikings Fantasy Football Team Preview
Head Coach: Kevin O'Connell (second season)
Offensive Coordinator: Wes Phillips (second season)
Key Offensive Additions:
Key Offensive Departures:
Key Offensive Rookies:
Points Per Game: 24.9 (8th)
Passing Yards: 263.8 (6th)
Rushing Yards: 97.7 (28th)
Vacated Targets: 202 (6th)
Pass: 67 percent Run: 33 percent
OL Rank: 20th
Kirk Cousins is a good, not quite great, NFL quarterback and that sentiment also applies to fantasy football. Cousins was 12th among qualifying quarterbacks with 18 fantasy points per game last season. He would need to have a career year to exceed his 2022 production significantly. Treat Cousins as a back-end QB1 option with significant, matchup-based spike week potential in fantasy.
Cook is no longer a Viking — purely because of his contract, as he averaged 0.8 yard per carry more than Alexander Mattison during the past two seasons. While Mattison was a plus backup, he's certainly not the ideal starter. His two-year, $7 million extension is evidence the Vikings do not view him like Cook.
Mattison has five career games with a snap share of more than 50 percent, and four of those games were against teams that were allowing a top-three amount of fantasy points to the position. Coincidentally, three of those games were against the Detroit Lions. Essentially, his small sample of elite fantasy production requires context.
Mattison is a borderline top-24 fantasy option, and the career backup begins to look like the quintessential dead zone back when he’s taken in Round 4 or 5 of fantasy drafts. Zooming out, Mattison looks like the 1A in a committee tied to a fairly potent Vikings offense. He's probably a touchdown-dependent option most weeks because Cook’s pass-game involvement dipped heavily last year. Plus, the team already has three high-end receiving options in the passing game.
There’s still a chance the Vikings sign a veteran because there’s a surprising dearth of known quantities after Mattison. Ty Chandler is tall and skinny, with fifth-round draft capital and six career NFL carries. He’s a true burner, but the 25-year-old second-year player is certainly better suited for special teams or as a team’s RB3.
DeWayne McBride is a big bruiser taken in the seventh round of the recent NFL draft; he compiled 437 carries and five receptions the past two years in college. Don’t expect him to play on third downs.
Kene Nwangwu is a pure special teamer who shouldn’t be in consideration in fantasy drafts.
Wide Receivers, Tight Ends
In his first year in Kevin O'Connell’s offense, Justin Jefferson thrived in a role similar to Cooper Kupp's when O'Connell was with the Rams. Jefferson was last year's Offensive Player of the Year with a league-leading 181 targets. Jefferson will continue to see massive target volume this season.
Minnesota found a perfect replacement for Thielen in Addison, who is known for his deep route running prowess. Addison brings a big-play potential to the offense that, last season, the aging Thielen did not. We expect K.J. Osborn to retain his role as the third wide receiver and fourth option in the passing game. Osborn isn’t a must-have fantasy option, but he should be a bench stash in deep leagues.
In the tight end room, you have T.J. Hockenson, who was acquired via trade midseason and immediately showed great chemistry with Cousins. Hockenson had an eye-popping 8.6 average targets per game with the Vikings, which was second among tight ends during that 10-game span. While Hockenson might not maintain that massive volume, we expect him to receive more than 120 targets, solidifying him as a top-tier tight end in PPR leagues.
Hockenson was second on the team in target share against two high safety looks, and he achieved that despite playing in only 10 games with Minnesota. Jordan Vanek anticipates Minnesota will see a lot of two-high looks, and Hockenson will continue to be a key target for Cousins.
Ian Miller: Sell Mattison (RB26)
Derrick Henry posted a 39.7 percent carry percentage behind DeMarco Murray in 2017. Tony Pollard posted a 31.7 percent carry percentage behind Ezekiel Elliott in 2021. Mattison posted just an 18.3 percent carry percentage behind Cook in 2022. Mattison is unlikely to step into a high-usage RB1 role as other runners in similar situations have.
Vikings We’re Targeting or Avoiding in Fantasy Football
Josh Larky: Avoid Mattison
Ryan Reynolds: Target Hockenson
Jordan Vanek: Target Jefferson, Hockenson
Other Fantasy Previews
Follow our Team on Twitter:
Josh Larky: @JLarkyTweets
Ryan Reynolds: @RyanReynoldsNFL
Jordan Vanek: @JordanVanekDFS
Ian Miller: @Dynasty_IM