You can stash this headline in the “things I never thought I would say” pocket.
So, relish what I’m about to say you Minnesota Vikings fans. And take note if you’re a fantasy football player looking to gain some sort of edge on your league.
I told you this season was going to be one of bold commentary and precise navigation on both the waiver wire and in trade scenarios.
And that’s why I’m giving my full endorsement to the Minnesota Vikings offense as a legitimate fantasy football option for every position.
Let’s break them down.
Teddy Bridgewater, QB
At first glance, Teddy Bridgewater didn’t necessarily light up the box score in his rookie season but take that with the context it deserves.
First, no Adrian Peterson. Second, no viable red zone threat without Kyle Rudolph. Third, Cordarrelle Patterson fell flat on his face (again) and their next man up was the Greg Jennings version of a poor man’s Greg Jennings.
I’m not a huge believer in the notion that another year in the league automatically translates to improvement. But with Teddy Bridgewater – and perhaps the Vikings offense as a whole – the proverbial next step feels inevitable.
I look at his 64.4 percent completion rate from 2014 as a strong indicator that he’s learned the offense and feels comfortable commanding it. With added weapons, it’s fair to say his touchdown to interception ratio will trend away from the 14/12 he posted last season.
And there’s no ignoring the fact that defenses must scheme for Adrian Peterson when he’s on the field. That should open up infinite passing lanes for Bridgewater over the top.
I’ll give Bridgewater the nod as a bonafide starter in two-QB leagues and a necessary bench option in one-QB formats. But don’t be surprised to see him start nipping at the heels of more established back-end QB1’s.
Projection: 3,700 yards and 23 passing touchdowns.
Adrian Peterson, RB
He’s back and he’s going to light shit up. If you’re one of the people who shy away from ‘running backs over 30’ then it’s time to accept you’re going to be wrong on this one.
I don’t blame anyone for sticking to your guns, but Adrian Peterson is rushing for 1,500-plus yards and 10-plus touchdowns this season. I don’t care how old he is (turned 30 in March).
Peterson is the best running back of this generation – the same guy who came within nine yards of the single-season rushing record less than 12 months after tearing his ACL. He’s had a full year to rest his body, and a lock to play 2015 with a massive chip on his shoulder.
I would take him with the No. 1 overall pick in redraft leagues. He absolutely deserves to be in that same conversation with Le’Veon Bell and Jamaal Charles, and to me, is worlds ahead of Eddie Lacy in terms of top tier running backs.
Projection: 1,560 yards, 13 touchdowns.
Mike Wallace, WR
If you think it’s hard defending Adrian Peterson after a year-long absence, try hyping up Mike Wallace after two very mediocre seasons in Miami (10 touchdowns in 2014 isn’t terrible, though).
But as I referenced when talking Teddy Bridgewater, Wallace is going to benefit greatly from the return of Adrian Peterson. A back of Peterson’s caliber demands eight men in the box, and that means oodles of room over the top for arguably the fastest player in the NFL.
After posting career lows in YPR (12.7 and 12.9) during his two years in Miami, look for Wallace to resemble something closer to the Pittsburgh Steelers version of himself in 2015. I love the fact that Norv Turner is his offensive coordinator, too.
Turner is one of the most creative offensive minds in the game and will find ways to get Wallace the ball in positive situations.
Projection: 1,040 yards and seven touchdowns.
Charles Johnson, WR
“Sleeper” is another term I’m not terribly fond of. Partially because when people talk about sleepers, they’re technically not sleeping anymore. You’re talking them up, people know about them now.
Charles Johnson is a strong FLEX option in 2015 with the ceiling of a back-end WR2 if he stays healthy. Johnson doesn’t have a whole lot of stats to go off, but he did rack up over 400 yards receiving after Week 11.
He’s a tricky player to assess in drafts though. I’ve seen him go as high as the 7th round and as low as the 10th. Some people just don’t know about him, and thats where you can benefit. Others are infatuated with his 6-foot, 2-inch frame and silky smooth strides with the ball in his hands. Is it getting hot in here?
You can tell which side I’m on.
Projection: 890 yards and six touchdowns.
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR
If you remember last season, I basically conducted the Cordarrelle Patterson hype train alongside Matthew Berry.
With that noted, the only thing I’ll say about Cordarrelle Patterson is that his ADP (above) is way too low for me not to take a flier on him in the closing rounds. I just can’t stress enough how high the ceiling is if it all clicks.
Projection: 400 yards and three touchdowns (but I so badly want to be wrong).
Kyle Rudolph, TE
Rudolph sits outside my top 10 tight ends simply because I don’t know if the yards are going to be there, but he’s as good a red zone tight end there is in the NFL. His nine touchdowns in 2012 prove that.
But for right now I’m looking at him in the Larry Donnell/Owen Daniels range with the highest ceiling in that third TE tier.
With Norv Turner’s experience of turning tight ends into studs there’s a chance. But he’s got to stay healthy, and he’s one of a many mouths Teddy Bridgewater needs to feed between the 20’s.
Projection: 545 yards and five touchdowns.