2022 Fantasy Football Minnesota Vikings Preview

by Michael Tomlin
2022 Fantasy Football Minnesota Vikings Preview

Welcome to F6P's 2022 Fantasy Football Minnesota Vikings Preview!

Obviously, the biggest offseason change is that Kevin O’Connell takes over as head coach.

Mike Zimmer had been in charge in Minnesota for eight seasons but could never quite get over the hump. The Vikings decided to make a change from one of the most defensive-minded coaches to a Sean McVay protégé.

Will O’Connell open up the offense more? We will get to that later in the 2022 Fantasy Football Minnesota Vikings preview.

All of the Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) and Average Draft Position (ADP) data in the 2022 Fantasy Football Minnesota Vikings preview is up to date as of June 21st.

2022 Fantasy Football Minnesota Vikings Preview

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Kirk Cousins is the epitome of “replacement-level” in Fantasy Football. He has put up back-to-back QB11 seasons, even though he was drafted (or not drafted at all) as QB24 last season.

Cousins has thrown for over 4,200 yards and at least 30 touchdowns in each of his last three healthy seasons in Minnesota. He has at least a 99.7 quarterback rating each season in Minnesota. The best way to describe him: Dak Prescott with worse PR.

So, what will change for Cousins with Kevin O’Connell running the show? Honestly, I do not think much will.

The Vikings attempted 604 passes last season; the Rams attempted 607 in 2021. O’Connell ran a much more efficient offense last season, averaged 7.7 yards per attempt while the Vikings averaged just 7.0 yards per attempt. The Rams also had a 6.8% touchdown rate while Minnesota’s was just 5.6%.

What I take away from this is that Cousins’ ceiling is definitely higher than it has been since he got to Minnesota. Can Cousins emulate what Stafford was able to do last season in the same offense? I think there is a chance, making his QB15 ADP quite tasty.

Running Backs

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Dalvin Cook missed four games last season and was slowed by injury in three others. That seems to be a reoccurring theme with Cook, as he has missed multiple games in each of his five seasons, 25 total games missed.

When Cook is healthy and playing though, he is still quite elite. He finished the year as RB15 overall, and RB11 in points per game. Solid, but still not what you want from a Round One pick.

However, if you only look at the games that he was not slowed by injury and got more than ten carries, his average bumps up to 16.98 half-PPR Fantasy Points per game. That was the fourth best at the position.

Because of Cook’s high ceiling when healthy but also high probability for missed time, Alexander Mattison is the most vital handcuff in football.

Mattison averaged 19.83 half-PPR Fantasy Points per game when Cook was inactive last season. Sadly, Mattison has provided almost nothing when Cook is active (2.7 points per game).

Could O’Connell change it up and give Cook more breathers? It is tough to predict, because in each of his three years as an offensive coordinator he has not had the lead back stay healthy.

So, keep an eye on the headlines out of Vikings camp to see if you can decipher Minnesota’s backfield split plans. If you do draft Cook though, be ready and willing to reach multiple rounds on Mattison, because others will be looking to snipe you on him.

Wide Receivers

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Justin Jefferson asserted himself as a dominant force last season and not just a rookie-year wonder. He followed up an 88-catch, 1,400-yard and 7-touchdown rookie campaign with 108 grabs, 1,616 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2021.

Obviously the extra game helped, but Jefferson’s receptions and yards per game had significant increases as well.

Paired with Jefferson is Mr. Touchdown Regression Proof Adam Thielen. This will be the third straight season that people will predict Thielen having a huge drop in touchdowns.

Thielen has caught 20 touchdowns over the past three seasons in just 38 games and 171 receptions. That means he scores on 18% of his catches, which is absurd if he had not have done it three years in a row.

I get that he is on the wrong side of thirty and an injury risk, but when he plays, he performs. Before his injury last season, Thielen was the WR7.

The one area that O’Connell might really boost the Vikings? The Rams top two targets averaged almost four more combined targets per game than the Vikings’ top two receivers last season. If you boost both Jefferson and Thielen by a couple of more targets per game then you might be looking at THE WR1 and another top-15 guy.

Tight Ends

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Irv Smith Jr. tore his meniscus before the first game last year and missed the entire season. He is the ultimate wild card when it comes to the 2022 Fantasy Football Minnesota Vikings preview.

It is tough to take much from the Vikings’ use of the tight end last year. Tyler Conklin had 87 targets, 61 receptions, 593 yards and three touchdowns. Smith is a much higher prospect than Conklin ever was, so you would think he can extend that usage to more production.

It is also tough to interpret how O’Connell really uses tight ends as Tyler Higbee missed some time last year and the Rams had a much deeper receiving group than Minnesota does now.

Smith came into the league with high regard but has yet to have the chance to prove what he can do as the starting tight end. With that said, he still is only 23 years old, so he should be able to bounce back from injury.

At his ECR of TE21 he is worth a late-round lottery ticket for sure.

Final Verdict

The Minnesota Vikings already had one of the best skill position groups in the entire league for Fantasy Football. Now they are getting an offensive-minded head coach that can help boost their production.

If Kevin O’Connell can do for Kirk Cousins what he did for Matthew Stafford, we could be looking at one of the best quarterback/receiver stacks in the league this year.

Dalvin Cook is worth the top pick, but you must handcuff him with Alexander Mattison at all costs.

Check out the rest of our 2022 Fantasy Football Team Previews!

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