There’s a new Cook in the kitchen, but the Vikings offense is getting a bad review from this critic.
2016 Review: The Vikings were one of the stranger offenses in 2016. After starting QB Teddy Bridgewater suffered a devastating season-ending and potentially career-threatening injury in training camp, the team acted quickly trading away several high picks to the Eagles for Sam Bradford. Considering the timing it seemed like the Vikings were doomed; however, the move kept the Vikings relevant for much of 2016 and Bradford even broke the record for completion percentage in a season (by dumping the ball). After losing Adrian Peterson to the season as well, the league’s worst running game was completely grounded and their offense lacked any real consistency. Only a few players were worthy of part-time fantasy starts by season’s end and none of them were really the guys you had hoped for.
2017 Changes: The Vikings invested in their offensive line which was arguably the worst in the league last season. They also parted ways with Adrian Peterson replacing him with former Raider Latavius Murray via free agency and Dalvin Cook through the draft. Although Purple Jesus will be missed by the Minnesota fanbase, this was a wise decision considering his age, recent frustrations with the franchise, and ridiculously overpaid contract. The team also added Michael Floyd recently, but he’s suspended starting the year thanks to his epic DUI he experienced at the end of last season.
2017 Outlook: The good news for Viking fans is that Sam Bradford will actually have an offseason and full training camp to work with his supporting cast. This should only make their passing attack even more effective. Other good news is the Vikings are likely to have three new starters on their offensive line which should improve the unit overall in the longterm. The only issue with Minnesota fantasy ownership is that they have few established stars or primary players to own. They have a solid backfield and decent WRs corps, but they shouldn’t have that many week-to-week reliable players especially considering their patchwork line in a work in progress.
Most Reliable Fantasy Star: After years of being overdrafted, Kyle Rudolph finally delivered TE1 numbers and was one of the most reliable options at the position last season. A DraftKings gem, Rudolph should continue to be relied upon assuming Bradford is under center for much of 2017. With a bad line, Bradford was a record-breaking dumper last season and should continue to toss many a third-and-seven conversion attempt at least three yards short of the sticks to Rudolph. The Vikings most reliable fantasy player should be considered a low end TE1 that should have decent value in or around the 8th round of drafts.
Potential Fantasy Bust: Latavius Murray was a solid play last season in Oakland, but truly lacked the consistency to be relied on as a weekly starter. Well the bad news for Murray is he’s traded in one of the best offensive lines for one of the worst in the league. Even with a good line last season, Murray was really a touchdown dependent red zone option; whereas, this season he should see significantly less opportunities in the red zone or honestly in general…so his value should tank because of this.
Best Sleeper: Dalvin Cook isn’t really a super sleeper by any stretch of the imagination, but the Florida State product was one of the more mercurial players in the draft often considered both an elite college back that can do it all or a less-then-stellar pro prospect that failed to impress athletically at the combine. If the Vikings can give him lanes, he could be a solid RB2 by the end of the year considering he’s the back with the most potential on the team. I’m not crazy about these rookie backs considering they’re getting overdrafted in leagues, but Cook could end up being the best of the bunch.
Overrated Sleeper: Don’t get me wrong. I loved Adam Thielen on the waiver wire last season and by the end of the year he was arguably the Purple People Eater’s most dangerous weapon on offense. With that being said, drafting a player that’s not even the top option on a mediocre passing offense seems problematic. Thielen will have his good days, but he’s on too many sleeper lists and he’s loved by too many white fantasy owners praying that he’s the second coming of Ed McCaffrey. This hope for the next Caucasian Invasion renders his sleeper status pretty much useless.
Most Intriguing Storyline: Bradford is in the last year of his deal and in an awkward scenario with Teddy Bridgewater expected to return sometime soon but doubtfully anytime too soon. Bradford should certainly start the year under center, but considering his career track record if the Vikings season turns into a disappointment or if Bradford is imitating too much of an Alex Smith approach then Teddy could end up playing down the stretch so that he can get some reps. This leaves a bit of murkiness to the position for the second half of 2017.
Fascinating Fantasy Stat: Jerrick McKinnon averaged 3.4 yards per carry from scrimmage and on average received contact around the 2.7 yard range last season. The Vikings were also one of only two teams that failed to eclipse 80 yards rushing per game last season.
One Thing I Was Right About (Last Season): I didn’t see the value in a rookie Laquon Treadwell and it appears there still is no fantasy value for him.
One Thing I Was Wrong About: I thought Purple Jesus had at least one more season of top half RB1 left in him. Apparently a lot of experts agreed with these sentiments.
Best Porn Name: If you’re producing a BBW film then it better star backup defensive tackle, Chunky Clements.
One Final Thought: If you think this will be Sam Bradford’s breakout year then you should be reminded that 1) he’s 29 and has played in the league for seven years, 2) he’s a career 32-45 QB, 3) you also believe in the Sasquatch. But do you believe in the Sexy Sasquatch? That’s not a Sasquatch (because nobody has a sexy outfit for one).