It’s hard to deny how badly the Minnesota Vikings want to win based on their hype-aggressive move during the draft in April The coming 2013 NFL season is a landmark one for their latest roster. Which names stand to bring the most punch in fantasy leagues?
Offense – Adrian Peterson
The reigning MVP won’t have a season like he did last year. His stated goals for the Minnesota Vikings involve 2,500 yards and eventually breaking the all-time rushing record set by Emmitt Smith. Those are excellent pursuits, but focusing on the 2013 season suggests he is in for a slight decrease in production. Regardless, his value is obvious. The only year he didn’t rush for over 1,000 yards was 2011 when he tore his ACL after 12 games, and he was at 970 when it happened. He also averages double digit touchdowns. Peterson is the best fantasy running back people can hope for and the best option Minnesota can offer on either side of the ball.
Defense – Jared Allen
Another year, another day at the office. Jared Allen is one of the top three pass rushers in the NFL over the past decade. He has remained a steady, dominant force for the Vikings since they signed him in 2008. With five-straight Pro Bowls under his belt and coming off 34 sacks the past two seasons, his fantasy value should stay fairly constant this season. There is some concern about the fact he’s 31-years old but that really isn’t a big problem. Defensive ends who are durable like him tend to do well at least for a few more years before the wear and tear starts to show. Also, he is in a contract year, so he’ll have even more motivation to play up to and beyond his usual standards.
Rookie – Sharrif Floyd
Xavier Floyd and Cordarrelle Patterson are interesting options here but between all the units on the Vikings, none give a rookie a better chance to succeed in 2013 than Sharrif Floyd. He will play alongside Allen, Brian Robison and Kevin Williams whom are all proven pass rushers. Floyd was arguably the best defensive tackle prospect coming out of college but fell all the way into the laps of Minnesota at #23. If anybody will have a chip on his shoulder with something to prove, it is him. Considering how good he was in college, that kind of focus tends to create superstars. Quarterbacks around the league should be mindful of where he lines up otherwise they might not know what hits them until it’s too late.
Sleeper – Kyle Rudolph
Experienced drafters will go after the big names like Tony Gonzalez, Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski (whenever he returns) and Jason Witten. Make no mistake though, a chemistry has clearly developed between Christian Ponder and tight end Kyle Rudolph. While he didn’t post much in the yardage department last year, the Minnesota Vikings couldn’t argue with the nine touchdown passes he caught. The additions of Greg Jennings and Cordarrelle Patterson figure to open the field up a little bit, allowing Rudolph to see even less blanket coverage than last season, which means big things if the team moves more towards the passing game as many expect them to.