Top 5 2013 Fantasy Football Players: Minnesota Vikings

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Five Minnesota Vikings To Watch At Your Fantasy Draft

Vikings Fantasy Football Prediction
Bruce Kluckhohn - USA TODAY Sports

In 2012, the Minnesota Vikings were a one-man show. Carried by Adrian Peterson’s insane production just 10 months removed from surgery to repair a torn ACL. They exceeded all expectations on the way to a 10-6 record and a wild card berth in the NFC playoffs.

Of course, as wild of a ride as that was for Vikings fans, it was even more intense for their fantasy owners. If you were fortunate enough to have Peterson on your roster, congratulations! You most likely made your league’s playoffs and probably even challenged for the title.

Unfortunately, with an otherwise anemic offense led by Christian Ponder in his first full season as a starter, there wasn’t much else to be thrilled with on the Vikings roster, fantasy-wise. Ponder ended the 2012 season with just 18 touchdown passes to go with 12 interceptions. He only had one 300-yard game, with nine sub-200 yard games. While he impressed in the season finale against the Green Bay Packers, his performance made even Percy Harvin a difficult start most weeks.

Still, for 2013, there are some bright spots on the Minnesota roster. The team added veteran receiver Greg Jennings in free agency, and he’ll be expected to step in and provide Ponder with something he hasn’t had thus far in his Vikings career – a reliable target on the outside. The only other major change to the offensive side of the ball is Cordarrelle Patterson, who will be expected to take over much of the role Harvin played before his departure for the Seattle Seahawks. And of course, Peterson returns as the soul of the Vikings and, hopefully, your fantasy team.

While expectations for the Vikings on Sundays should be tempered, there are some quality fantasy options out there, if you can get them at the right price. My rankings are based on standard-scoring leagues. If your league has some unique rules, of course, adjust your value accordingly. Most importantly, have fun!

Brandon Raper is a writer for RantSports.com. “Like” him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter @Brandon__Raper, and add him to your Google+ network.

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5. Blair Walsh

Walsh
Jesse Johnson - USA TODAY Sports

2012 Stats: 35/38 Field Goals, 36/36 PAT

I know what you’re thinking right now: “this is a fantasy football analysis and you’re ranking a kicker? A KICKER?!” Well, when that kicker made 35 of 38 field goals last year, including converting all 10 of his attempts from 50 yards and out (an NFL record), he’s got clear value every week. Walsh scored 165 points in ESPN standard leagues last season, first in the league and ahead of popular options Stephen Gostkowski, Lawrence Tynes and Matt Bryant, all of whom benefit from more prolific offenses in general. Don’t go crazy for a kicker, but Walsh is going to get plenty of shots again in 2013. As kickers go, Blair Walsh should be your top player on the board.

3 of 6

4. Vikings Defense/Special Teams

Jared Allen
Brace Hemmelgarn - USA TODAY Sports

2012 Stats: 44 Sacks, 10 Interceptions, 12 Fumble Recoveries, 5600 Yards Against

You can look at this ranking one of two ways. Pessimists will see that the Vikings really don’t have a ton of top fantasy talent outside of Adrian Peterson. Of course, this unit still racked up 44 sacks last year, including 12 from Jared Allen alone. If your league gives D/ST points for return scores, even better, as rookie Cordarrelle Patterson steps into the return role that Percy Harvin left open when he was traded to the Seahawks. I don’t recommend drafting any defense early on, but in the last couple rounds, this unit should be serviceable on a week-to-week basis, and an occasional top option depending on match ups.

4 of 6

3. Greg Jennings

Jennings
Bruce Kluckhohn - USA TODAY Sports

2012 Stats (eight games with Green Bay): 36 receptions, 366 yards, four touchdowns

Percy Harvin’s departure left a gaping hole in the Vikings’ receiving corps, but the team made the right moves drafting Cordarrelle Patterson and bringing Jennings in from Green Bay. Jennings is the proven commodity, but he’s also two years removed from his last 1,000-yard season. Jennings only played in eight games for the Packers in 2012, but still reeled in four scores despite Aaron Rodgers’s connection with James Jones, Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson. Jennings will be counted on to provide stability in the Vikings passing game, and Ponder will look to him early and often … when he’s not handing off to Peterson.

5 of 6

2. Kyle Rudolph

Rudolph
Brace Hemmelgarn - USA TODAY Sports

2012 Stats: 53 receptions, 493 yards, nine touchdowns

Kyle Rudolph is a bit of a fantasy enigma – he scored nine touchdowns in 2012, but only reeled in 53 passes for 493 yards. He also had eight games without a score, and three of those without a single reception. While most of that is due to Ponder’s difficulty in getting the ball downfield, it’s important to remember that Rudolph was second only to Percy Harvin in receptions and yards, and accounted for half of the Vikes’ receiving scores.

Rudolph isn’t close to the truly elite ranks of Jimmy Graham or Rob Gronkowski, but appears to be a tight end on the rise in the Vikings offense. The scores and red-zone targets give him relatively solid week-to-week playability.

6 of 6

1. Adrian Peterson

Peterson
Jesse Johnson - USA TODAY Sports

Last year, Peterson was the runaway best player in Fantasy Football, racking up 297 points in ESPN standard leagues. He ran for 2,097 yards and 12 touchdowns, adding another score receiving. Oh yeah, he did it all fresh off rehabbing a torn ACL with a nonexistent passing game to take any defensive pressure off. While that type of production is historically impossible to replicate the next year, Peterson should be the first player off the board on draft day. I don’t care what type of league you’re in, if you can get your hands on "All Day" and he’s healthy, you’re good to go.

1 of 6

Five Minnesota Vikings To Watch At Your Fantasy Draft

Vikings Fantasy Football Prediction
Bruce Kluckhohn - USA TODAY Sports

In 2012, the Minnesota Vikings were a one-man show. Carried by Adrian Peterson’s insane production just 10 months removed from surgery to repair a torn ACL. They exceeded all expectations on the way to a 10-6 record and a wild card berth in the NFC playoffs.

Of course, as wild of a ride as that was for Vikings fans, it was even more intense for their fantasy owners. If you were fortunate enough to have Peterson on your roster, congratulations! You most likely made your league’s playoffs and probably even challenged for the title.

Unfortunately, with an otherwise anemic offense led by Christian Ponder in his first full season as a starter, there wasn’t much else to be thrilled with on the Vikings roster, fantasy-wise. Ponder ended the 2012 season with just 18 touchdown passes to go with 12 interceptions. He only had one 300-yard game, with nine sub-200 yard games. While he impressed in the season finale against the Green Bay Packers, his performance made even Percy Harvin a difficult start most weeks.

Still, for 2013, there are some bright spots on the Minnesota roster. The team added veteran receiver Greg Jennings in free agency, and he’ll be expected to step in and provide Ponder with something he hasn’t had thus far in his Vikings career – a reliable target on the outside. The only other major change to the offensive side of the ball is Cordarrelle Patterson, who will be expected to take over much of the role Harvin played before his departure for the Seattle Seahawks. And of course, Peterson returns as the soul of the Vikings and, hopefully, your fantasy team.

While expectations for the Vikings on Sundays should be tempered, there are some quality fantasy options out there, if you can get them at the right price. My rankings are based on standard-scoring leagues. If your league has some unique rules, of course, adjust your value accordingly. Most importantly, have fun!

Brandon Raper is a writer for RantSports.com. “Like” him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter @Brandon__Raper, and add him to your Google+ network.

2 of 6

5. Blair Walsh

Walsh
Jesse Johnson - USA TODAY Sports

2012 Stats: 35/38 Field Goals, 36/36 PAT

I know what you’re thinking right now: “this is a fantasy football analysis and you’re ranking a kicker? A KICKER?!” Well, when that kicker made 35 of 38 field goals last year, including converting all 10 of his attempts from 50 yards and out (an NFL record), he’s got clear value every week. Walsh scored 165 points in ESPN standard leagues last season, first in the league and ahead of popular options Stephen Gostkowski, Lawrence Tynes and Matt Bryant, all of whom benefit from more prolific offenses in general. Don’t go crazy for a kicker, but Walsh is going to get plenty of shots again in 2013. As kickers go, Blair Walsh should be your top player on the board.

3 of 6

4. Vikings Defense/Special Teams

Jared Allen
Brace Hemmelgarn - USA TODAY Sports

2012 Stats: 44 Sacks, 10 Interceptions, 12 Fumble Recoveries, 5600 Yards Against

You can look at this ranking one of two ways. Pessimists will see that the Vikings really don’t have a ton of top fantasy talent outside of Adrian Peterson. Of course, this unit still racked up 44 sacks last year, including 12 from Jared Allen alone. If your league gives D/ST points for return scores, even better, as rookie Cordarrelle Patterson steps into the return role that Percy Harvin left open when he was traded to the Seahawks. I don’t recommend drafting any defense early on, but in the last couple rounds, this unit should be serviceable on a week-to-week basis, and an occasional top option depending on match ups.

4 of 6

3. Greg Jennings

Jennings
Bruce Kluckhohn - USA TODAY Sports

2012 Stats (eight games with Green Bay): 36 receptions, 366 yards, four touchdowns

Percy Harvin’s departure left a gaping hole in the Vikings’ receiving corps, but the team made the right moves drafting Cordarrelle Patterson and bringing Jennings in from Green Bay. Jennings is the proven commodity, but he’s also two years removed from his last 1,000-yard season. Jennings only played in eight games for the Packers in 2012, but still reeled in four scores despite Aaron Rodgers’s connection with James Jones, Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson. Jennings will be counted on to provide stability in the Vikings passing game, and Ponder will look to him early and often … when he’s not handing off to Peterson.

5 of 6

2. Kyle Rudolph

Rudolph
Brace Hemmelgarn - USA TODAY Sports

2012 Stats: 53 receptions, 493 yards, nine touchdowns

Kyle Rudolph is a bit of a fantasy enigma – he scored nine touchdowns in 2012, but only reeled in 53 passes for 493 yards. He also had eight games without a score, and three of those without a single reception. While most of that is due to Ponder’s difficulty in getting the ball downfield, it’s important to remember that Rudolph was second only to Percy Harvin in receptions and yards, and accounted for half of the Vikes’ receiving scores.

Rudolph isn’t close to the truly elite ranks of Jimmy Graham or Rob Gronkowski, but appears to be a tight end on the rise in the Vikings offense. The scores and red-zone targets give him relatively solid week-to-week playability.

6 of 6

1. Adrian Peterson

Peterson
Jesse Johnson - USA TODAY Sports

Last year, Peterson was the runaway best player in Fantasy Football, racking up 297 points in ESPN standard leagues. He ran for 2,097 yards and 12 touchdowns, adding another score receiving. Oh yeah, he did it all fresh off rehabbing a torn ACL with a nonexistent passing game to take any defensive pressure off. While that type of production is historically impossible to replicate the next year, Peterson should be the first player off the board on draft day. I don’t care what type of league you’re in, if you can get your hands on "All Day" and he’s healthy, you’re good to go.


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