Not many people had the Minnesota Vikings as a playoff team in the beginning of the 2012 season. However, a certain dominating running back had other ideas, as the Vikings did just that. The team made the playoffs, surprising many fans. Well, the Vikings are up next in Fantasy 32, and I have a feeling we might be talking about that running back, no?
During his sophomore season, Christian Ponder was definitely much, much better. His completion percentage, yards and touchdowns increased, while his interceptions decreased. He displayed some promising flashes over the course of his career, a guy who can make plays with his feet and is solid in the short, intermediate passing game. Still, there is a lot to dislike about Ponder, at least from a fantasy perspective. He struggles heavily throwing the deep ball, possessing one of the weakest arms among starting quarterbacks. So weak, in fact, that the Vikings seemed to cut the reins on his deep ball attempts. During the last five games of the 2012 season, Ponder tossed just 12 balls that traveled 20 yards or more. He does have solid weapons at his disposal, but this guy didn’t even throw for 3,000 yards last year, so their isn’t a whole lot of upside as a backup fantasy signal caller, because we all know he isn’t starting for any team.
See Peterson, Adrian. I mean, seriously. Do I really need to say anymore? Okay, okay. Out of respect to the outrageous 2012 campaign he displayed, let’s get into the best running back in football. First, the numbers. Coming off of a torn ACL from not just last season, but the very end of last season, Peterson rushed for 2,097 yards. Pretty good, right? Well, considering the only person to ever rush for more is Eric Dickerson, yes, it’s very good. Historic, actually. Oh yeah, he also had 13 total touchdowns. Let me put his greatness this way. Peterson rushed for about 800 less yards than guys like Ponder and Mark Sanchez (laughs) threw. Keep in mind that Peterson was literally unstoppable, even while opposing defenses knew he was getting the rock every time. Sure, his whoa crazy, crazy 2012 season makes for some regression in 2013, but is there any doubt that this guy deserves to be the number one overall pick in all fantasy leagues this year? The answer to that riddle is no.
Well, for a little while last season, the Vikings only fantasy relevant wideout was Percy Harvin. And boy was he relevant? Though he only played nine games in 2012, Harvin was productive from the get-go, catching 27 balls in his first three games, making for a perfect fit for Ponder’s intermediate offense. Well, fast forward to 2013 and Ponder is in Seattle, but a familiar face replaces him. The team signed former division rival Greg Jennings during the offseason, while also drafting Cordarrelle Patterson. Jennings, meanwhile, goes from catching passes from arguably the best quarterback in football in Aaron Rodgers, to a game manager like Ponder. His value definitely takes a hit, but a skilled, veteran guy like Jennings will still put up solid numbers, if healthy. Considering Jennings isn’t exactly a deep, vertical threat, perhaps Ponder and his 62.1 completion percentage can get the job done.
Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph had a nickname in the fantasy community. Well, at least for me. I called him Rudolph the Red Zone Reindeer simply because that’s where he will provide fantasy production. The 23-year old scored nine touchdowns in 2012,but unfortunately, that’s the only place he will do damage. Rudolph caught 53 balls for 493 yards last year, ranking 15th and 25th among tight ends respectively. He is a strong, physical specimen who can go up and grab the ball in the end zone, but of course, it would take two or three failed goal line attempts from Peterson for him to get a shot.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.