2020 Fantasy Football Minnesota Vikings Preview

by Dylan Clemons
2021 Dynasty Football: K.J. Osborn

The Fantasy Football season is fast approaching, and we are doing our 2020 team previews. Today we will be going over the Minnesota Vikings in the 2020 Fantasy Football Minnesota Vikings Preview.

The Vikings are coming into the 2020 season on the heels of making the playoffs two out of the last three years, where they have upset the Drew Brees led Saints for their two playoff wins. Once in 2017-2018 in the divisional round, when Case Keenum and Stefon Diggs hooked up on what has been deemed “The Minneapolis Miracle”. Then again last year in the Wild Card round when they Beat the Saints 26-20 in Overtime.

Coming into this season there have been a few changes to the team and staff. The team's Offensive Coordinator Kevin Stefanski has left to take the head coaching position for the Cleveland Browns. He was replaced by Super Bowl winning Head Coach Gary Kubiak, who was on staff last year as the Assistant Head Coach to Head Coach Mike Zimmer.

The other big move that the Vikings made was trading their outspoken, deep threat Wide Receiver Stefon Diggs and a 2020 7th round pick to the Buffalo Bills for the 22nd pick (Justin Jefferson WR LSU), a 2020 fifth-round pick, a 2020 sixth-round pick, and a 2021 fourth-round pick. The outspoken Wide Receiver voiced his frustrations with the passing game, along with fellow Wide Reciever Adam Thielen, earlier in the season after an embarrassing 16-6 loss to the Bears.

Those are the few big changes for the Vikings heading into 2020, now let's look at the team from a fantasy aspect of things.

2020 Fantasy Football Minnesota Vikings Preview

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Kirk Cousins is coming into his 3rd season as the Vikings signal-caller, and he still has a ton to prove to the Vikings and fantasy owners after signing a two year, $66 million extension.

He did throw for the 8th most touchdowns in football last year with 26. But according to Fantasy Pros, half-point PPR scoring from last year Cousins had the 18th most fantasy points behind the likes of the 17th, Derek Carr, and the 16th, Ryan Fitzpatrick. Some of it has to do with the fact that he only threw the ball 444 times last year.

That may not increase due to the loss of Stefon Diggs and replacing him with rookie wideout,  Justin Jefferson. Also the emergence of running back, Dalvin Cook (barring a hold out), and the fact that Mike Zimmer loves to run the ball, they were 6th in rushing yards per game and 4th in the league in attempts.

Cousins is going to regress even more than he already has in his time in Minnesota. I don’t expect him to be any more than a high end, touchdown-dependent QB2 this season.

Running backs

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There are only two things that could stop Dalvin Cook from being a top-5 fantasy running back this season. Injuries are the first thing. He tore his labrum in 2014 while he was at FSU. He then tore his ACL in his rookie season in 2017. After that, he strained his hamstring in 2018 causing him to miss five games, resulting in a disappointing season. The second thing is that there are multiple reports saying he is going to hold out, which would be a nightmare for Cook owners in keeper leagues and dynasty leagues.

In 2019 Cook burst onto the scene, according to FantasyPros Half point PPR scoring system, he finished as RB5, rushed for 1,135 yards, and caught 53 out of his 63 targets for 519 yards, and finished with 15 total touchdowns. In my opinion, if Cook is on the field there is no reason why he can't repeat what he did last season and even have some positive regression. He should see a small uptick in touches with the departure of Diggs and his 94 targets that he had.

Alexander Mattison, in my opinion, is the best Running Back handcuff in all of Fantasy Football. From my personal perspective, he looks extremely talented. When he was able to get touches, he averaged 4.6 yards per carry as a rookie. At times he looked more than capable of carrying the load, and he would have starting potential if Cook were to go down, and possibly even be a league winner. But if Cook stays healthy and doesn’t hold out, you can't really use Mattison.

Wide Receivers

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In 2018 Adam Thielen was the 7th Highest scoring Fantasy Wide Receiver, and was also 7th in the NFL with 135 targets, according to FantasyPros half PPR scoring system. This was a 26% target share which was 10th in the NFL. With the departure of Diggs, we could see his targets shoot up to 150, and have close to a 30% target share. I am a firm believer of Adam Thielen having a return to his 2018 form, have a monster year once again and return as a top 10 fantasy Wideout.

With the departure of Diggs the Vikings had to replace him somehow, and they did just that by using the 22nd overall pick on Wideout Justin Jefferson. The 6’1 200 lb wideout from LSU was a target monster playing with Joe Burrow. He caught 111 balls out of 122 targets, working mostly out of the slot. That should make things interesting because when Thielen was at his best, he worked in the slot 46% of the time. With the abbreviated offseason and not much time getting to work with Cousins, I don’t see him accumulating more than 65-70 targets this year in this run first offense. I will be staying away.

Also I don’t see Tajae Sharpe being more than just another guy, he was also at his best while working out of the slot as well in 2018.

I do feel a little better about Olabisi Johnson than I do Sharpe, who had shown flashes last season when he caught three touchdowns in a limited role. But with the Vikings drafting Jefferson, I don’t know if I see a strong future with them.

Tight ends

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In 2018 Kyle Rudolph finished as a top 8 tight end in fantasy, according to FantasyPros half-point PPR scoring system. So If you drafted him that year, you were probably happy with the production he gave you with 81 targets, 61 receptions with four touchdowns, and are considering the position being pretty weak.

But last season with the scheme change, and the drafting of Irv Smith Jr. out of Alabama, Rudolph's productivity was pretty much cut in half. He had a down year, finishing outside the top 10 Tight Ends for the first time since 2015, where he finished 14th in the FantasyPros half-point PPR scoring system. I fully expect his productivity to keep slipping, and he will be nothing more than a streaming option this season.

Irv Smith Jr. has all the talent in the world to make a huge impact as a fantasy Tight end. But on this team, and this year with Rudolph sticking around, I can't see Smith’s production skyrocketing very much since there aren't enough targets to go around in this run-first scheme. Smith, like Rudolph, is nothing more than a streaming option this year.

Final Verdict

All in all, if the Vikings can figure out the Cook contract situation and if Thielen and Cook can stay healthy, I see the Vikings having another good season finishing around 10-6 and battling with the Packers for a NFC North title if all goes to plan.

Visit the F6P Fantasy Football page for more advice to get you prepared for the 2020 season.

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