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Offseason Primers: Minnesota Vikings

Senior Fantasy Writer
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It's safe to say there were a lot of improbabilities in the Vikings 2012 season. It was improbable that their star running back, Adrian Peterson, would not only be ready to play in Week 1 after tearing his ACL late in the prior season but rush for over 2,000 yards. It was improbable that quarterback Christian Ponder, not Peterson, would ultimately steer the team to a playoff berth without the benefit of a quality receiver like Percy Harvin. Heck, it was improbable that the Vikings were a playoff team!

And how improbable was it that the Vikings were forced to use backup quarterback Joe Webb in their playoff loss at Green Bay?

2012 Touches Leaders
786 total touches (rush attempts + receptions)
Adrian Peterson 388 (348 car., 40 rec.) 49.4%
Percy Harvin 84 (62 rec., 22 car.) 10.7%
Toby Gerhart 70 (50 car., 20 rec.) 8.9%
Christian Ponder 60 car. 7.6%
Kyle Rudolph 53 rec. 6.7%
Michael Jenkins 40 rec. 5.1%
All Others 91 11.6%

Fantasy Football deals with probabilities as much as improbabilities, but there's seemingly one sure player on the Vikings: Peterson. His story from 2012 was enough to make him the league MVP after rushing for the second-most yards in a single season with 2,097 yards. He added 12 touchdowns on the ground and one more through the air. Peterson regained his form as a dominant rusher capable of rumbling for over 120 yards on the ground per week, which he did in half of his regular season games. He's got a hammerlock on the amount of work he'll get from week to week (he had under 20 touches just three times last season) and will run behind a solid offensive line. Though there's a smidge of concern Peterson could exhaust himself after taking on 370 carries over 17 games last year, the reality is that he's too good a player to pass up taking if made available on Draft Day. Owners shouldn't hesitate to take him with the first overall pick.

The rest of the Vikings? Defensively it's looking good but offensively there are a lot of questions after the team traded one of the NFL's most explosive playmakers.

Jarius Wright -- Sleeper

2012 Target Leaders
483 pass attempts
Kyle Rudolph 96 19.3%
Percy Harvin 85 17.6%
Michael Jenkins 72 14.9%
Jerome Simpson 52 10.8%
Adrian Peterson 51 10.6%
All Others 127 26.3%

With Percy Harvin moving on to the Seahawks and Greg Jennings serving as an outside receiver the door is open for Jarius Wright to contribute in his second season. He sat out the first nine games of the year, only getting playing time once Harvin got hurt. Wright didn't have a major impact in place of Harvin but did cobble together two touchdowns on 22 catches for 310 yards. He also caught 60 percent of his targets. But that little experience combined with what he did in college helps project him into someone worth taking. At Arkansas he set the school's career records for catches (168) and yards (2,934) and is second in school history with 24 touchdowns.He's also pretty much the same size as Harvin, so the measurables are there if the Vikings wanted to try and use Wright like they did Harvin. That's definitely not to say Wright will produce like Harvin but if given the chance to see over 60 percent of the snaps week in and week out he could work his way into 50-catch territory with some modest numbers to go with it.

Greg Jennings -- Mid-round value

Jennings' arrival in Minnesota should be welcomed considering the lack of receiving threats on the roster before he came to town. He'll be in a familiar role – the No. 1 receiver – but won't have quite as good of a quarterback throwing to him. That's an obvious factor that hampers his value compared to years past. Health is also a concern after missing 11 games over the last two seasons with leg, groin and abdomen problems. The glimmer of hope comes in what Jennings did for the Packers just before he left, catching 25 passes for 280 yards and four touchdowns over his last four games including two in the postseason.That's the kind of stuff the Vikings offense needs to keep going strong. Jennings might be boiled down to a top-of-the-line possession receiver but he should still be effective so long as he's upright. Best of all, Jennings can be had at a much later point in drafts compared to recent years as you can probably make it to Round 7 and still see him there. Consider him a No. 3 Fantasy receiver with obvious upside.

Kyle Rudolph -- Top 10 tight end

Expected 2013 Draft Averages
Christian Ponder Late-round pick
Adrian Peterson Top 2 overall
Toby Gerhart Late-round handcuff
Greg Jennings 65-80 overall
Jarius Wright Late-round pick
Kyle Rudolph 115-125 overall
Blair Walsh Late-round pick
Vikings DST Undrafted

We doubt we won't tell you anything you don't already know but Rudolph is absolutely in the conversation regarding tight ends you can draft and start right away. In 16 games last season Rudolph didn't record more than 67 yards per contest but did have eight games with at least 7 Fantasy points, one of three tight ends to land that many productive games in 2012. Ponder and the Vikings coaching staff already recognize Rudolph as a major red-zone threat and he's come up big there, scoring all of his eight touchdowns down there with 12 of 15 red-zone targets caught. There's room for improvement as Rudolph had the worst target conversion percentage of any tight end with at least 90 targets, catching just 56 of the 96 passes sent his way. An improvement in that area along with more targets in general would better serve Fantasy owners, but the reality is that he'll get picked with a mid-to-late choice anyway.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Dave at @daverichard and on Facebook .

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Player News
Packers WR Randall Cobb (shoulder) out of Saturday game
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(8/29/2015) With premier wideout Jordy Nelson already out for the season, the Packers must now sweat out the health of fellow top receiver Randall Cobb, who was taken to the locker room Saturday with a shoulder injury.

The Packers can ill-afford to lose Cobb, who caught 91 passes for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns last season.

The team has yet to reveal the specifics of the injury.


Bills WR Marquise Goodwin knocked out of game with rib injury
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(8/29/2015) A rib injury has Bills wide receiver Marquise Goodwin out of the preseason game Saturday against Pittsburgh, per ESPN.

Goodwin was removed in the second quarter after taking a hit following a 19-yard catch over the middle. He remained on the ground for several minutes before being escorted to the locker room.


Falcons, WR Julio Jones agree to 5-year, $71.25M deal
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(8/29/2015) The Falcons and Pro Bowl wide receiver Julio Jones have agreed to a five-year, $71.25 million deal, the team announced.

Jones is fresh off a season in which he caught 104 passes for 1,593 yards and six touchdowns for Atlanta. 

Terms of the deal are expected to include $47 million in guaranteed money.


Jaguars waive PR/WR Tandon Doss
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(8/29/2015) Perhaps the most surprising cut by the Jaguars on Saturday was wide receiver Tandon Doss, whose punt returning talent and experience appeared at one point to have him set for a roster spot.

Doss led the NFL in punt-return average in 2013 before missing last year due to an ankle injury. He was recently passed on the depth chart by rookie Rashad Greene. The Jaguars decided Doss didn't bring enough to the table as a receiver to warrant a place on the team.


Jaguars rookie DE Dante Fowler placed on IR
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(8/29/2015) The Jaguars have finalized the process of ending the season of defensive end and top pick Dante Fowler by placing him on injured reserve.

Fowler sustained a torn ACL on the first day of May minicamp and underwent surgery. He has begun rehabbing, but will not play this year.


Redskins reach contract extension with Trent Williams
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(8/29/2015) The Redskins made offensive tackle Trent Williams the highest paid tackle in NFL history after the two sides reached a five-year deal worth $66 million, reports the NFL Network.

Williams will average $13.2 million during the contract with $43.25 million guaranteed. Williams has started 70 games for the Redskins over the last five seasons.


Redskins QB Robert Griffin III out for Saturday's game
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(8/29/2015) Going back on previous reports, the Redskins have decided to hold quarterback Robert Griffin III out of Saturday's preseason game against the Ravens.

Griffin is still dealing with the after effects of the concussion he sustained last week against the Lions. He will be reevaluated in 1-2 weeks before the team determines if he can return to game action.


Cowboys OT R.J. Dill suspended four games for PEDs
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(8/28/2015) The NFL suspended Cowboys backup offensive lineman R.J. Dill for four games after he was found to be in violation of the league's performance enhancing substance abuse policy, the league announced Friday.

Dill was not expected to make the team's roster and was competing for a backup role.


Broncos sign TE Dan Light, waive WR Solomon Patton
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(8/28/2015) The Broncos have announced that they have signed tight end Dan Light and waived wide receiver Solomon Patton to make room on the roster.

Patton, who was claimed off waivers in May from Tampa Bay, has yet to catch a pass in the NFL.

Light is a rookie free agent out of Fordham who impressed the team during a tryout Friday. He caught 177 passes over four years at the college level.


Buccaneers WR Kenny Bell a no-go for Saturday game
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(8/28/2015) A hamstring strain will prevent Buccaneers rookie wide receiver Kenny Bell from playing in the preseason game Saturday against Cleveland, per the Tampa Tribune.

Bell also dealt with a hamstring issue in June. It remains to be seen how long this one keeps him sidelined.


 
 
 
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