I really, really like the direction the Minnesota Vikings are headed.
They’ve already got some serious pieces with exciting wideout, Cordarrelle Patterson, tight end Kyle Rudolph and, of course, Adrian Peterson. And after hiring new head coach Mike Zimmer, this team will be far more competitive than they were last year. But there’s just one thing.
They weren’t (and aren’t) finished yet.
On Saturday, the team announced the hiring of offensive coordinator Norv Turner. Turner’s offenses have been known to have plenty of fantasy relevancy (cough, cough, LaDainian Tomlinson), and is coming off a year where the Browns offenses has their moments offensively. I mean, of course, the elite play of Josh Gordon comes to mind, who led the NFL in receiving, despite missing the first two games. However, the emergence of tight end Jordan Cameron was also notable, as the athletic player broke out to the tune of 80 catches for 917 yards and seven scores. Turner will more than likely help another talented tight end take that next step in Minnesota.
Although I’ve never been the biggest fan of Kyle Rudolph, there’s no doubt that he has fantasy upside. A guy with 12 touchdowns over the last two seasons, Rudolph is one of the better red zone tight ends in football, but his disappearing act in between the 20’s never really appealed to me. That could change in 2014, as Turner historically utilizes the tight end quite a bit in his offenses.
|Chargers (2007)||Antonio Gates||75||9|
|Chargers (2008)||Antonio Gates||60||8|
|Chargers (2009)||Antonio Gates||79||8|
|Browns (2013)||Jordan Cameron||80||7|
Rudolph should be in line for more usage and targets than he has seen in his short career thus far. However, I don’t think he will be the only one to see an uptick in targets.
Adrian Peterson is a stud, and will be one of the first five running backs off the board in fantasy drafts. However, if there was one thing that owners could even remotely want more out of Peterson, it’s more of an impact in PPR leagues. His career-high in receptions is a serviceable 43, but with Turner calling the shots, that number could easily be a thing of the past. From 1991-93 in Dallas, Norv was the offensive coordinator, and while it’s an elite running back, it’s still worth noting that Emmitt Smith averaged 55 catches per year. And, of course, during his time in San Diego, LT was arguably the greatest fantasy player of all time, averaging an impressive 48 catches in each year Turner was there. The Vikings are going to likely pass the ball a bit more as usual. Last season with Cleveland, the Browns very, very quietly lead the NFL (for the majority of the year) in pass attempts per game, ultimately finishing with 42.6. And with Zimmer, an obvious defensive-oriented coach, focusing more on the defense, Turner should have full control of the offense.
Now imagine if the Vikings land themselves a quarterback…
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.