Detroit, Michigan – December 05: Minnesota Vikings’ Justin Jefferson # 18 responds after a first-half catch against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on December 05, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo Ray del Rio / Getty Images)
It’s hard to believe but in the NFL Draft Official Rear View Mirror, the Fantasy Football Draft is just around the corner. In fact, for some unique situation with overly excited owners, drafts have actually already taken place.
For me, my first Dynasty Rookie Draft is coming up this coming weekend, so I dived deeply in preparation and got ready for what was to come. With that, I thought, why don’t we do some preparation together. Here is a list of five players from the Minnesota Vikings that are fantasy relevant including what you need to know about them for the various formats of the fantasy game.
Justin Jefferson – WR1-2 range
He will be 23 years old when the 2022 season starts in September and he has already got two stellar seasons under his belt. Justin Jefferson is an animal, and he is the favorite player on the Vikings roster for fantasy football purposes. Depending on what kind of league you are in, he can be number one in the overall selection. According to ESPN’s Mike Clay, Jefferson is ranked # 1 overall pick for the Dynasty Startup Draft. He landed on top because he was the perfect blend of a crime that was young, really good, and dynamic, and some would argue that the Vikings’ offense was going to go one step further with Kevin O’Connell. For the directors of the helmet dynasty, the expectation is that Jefferson will produce at a high level for many years to come.
He is a slam dunk top-10 player for the re-draft league and probably WR2 is just behind Cooper Coupe. He will almost certainly fall off the board in the first round, with the average draft position (ADP) close to # 5 overall.
In just two seasons at the pro level, Jefferson averages more than 1,500 yards, 8.5 touchdowns and about 100 receptions per season. With the exception of injury, there is no reason to go for his third season in 2022.
Dalvin Cook – RB8 range
After Jefferson, the next most tentative player of the Vikings for the purpose of imagination is apparently running back, Dalvin Cook. The value of the Dynasty League will be quite different here because the concept of the shelf life around the league is changing. When Adrian Peterson was folded, the shelf life of running backs was severely curtailed after the age of 30. At present, however, churning and burning on the running back with heavy use outside the gate is seen much earlier. And shared backfield takes precedence.
When the season started at the age of 27, Cook came close to the threshold that brought his value back to # 20 overall in the Dynasty League, returning to the 9th run off the board.
But when it comes to direct re-draft league, Cook could push his way into the first round of most drafts. Currently, his ADP is close to # 11 overall which is the spot for a guy who can run from the backfield and catch out. Cook is on a string of three straight 1,000+ yard seasons with a total of 36 touchdowns in that span. With Darwin missing 13 games in the last four seasons, there is always a level of injury concern. Still, he’s second, maybe third, but if you can get him, he’s behind the # 1 race for your team.
Adam Thilen – WR 40-50 range
One of the most difficult questions to answer on this list is what to do with the wide receiver Adam Thielin when it comes to fantasy. On the one hand, he is 32 years old this season and he has always been despised. That said, he just gets the job done.
In 2021, all the experts suspected him of the season, Thiellen went out and scored 726 yards and 10 total TDs. It’s the declining number of yards and target numbers that have raised concerns that you’ve gotten from someone, but it’s also the touchdown and redzone targets that he’s going to get that puts him on everyone’s radar for a spot start or re-draft league. As long as the cousins are going to get the Minnesota Vikings quarterback, Adam Thilen. Even if he can lose a step in his pace, Thiellen is an elite route runner and will still find a way to open the field. Looking at the bonds they have built up over the last few years, # 19 remains a tough WR3 for your team and can flirt with the WR2 range.
Cork Cousin – QB15 Range
And that brings us to our all-time favorite, quarterback Kirk Cousins. People like to hate Kirk on the field but he continues to produce when it comes to fantasy football.
He still slots as a starter for the re-draft league even though he is the # 9 or # 10 man in your league. Both Yards and Touchdown were in the top-10 last season and there is no reason to expect it to change this year. He has weapons out there with Jefferson and Thiellen, Dalvin Cook is taking the ball and coming out of the backfield and he will get Arv Smith Jr. back for a big body in midfield again this season. He’s got the weapons, he’s got the skills and hopefully he’s finally got the right coach to boot. One person who has already picked up the big numbers has reason to believe that this year could end up being one of his best.
The dynasty draft is a little more difficult. There is certainly a place for Kirk on the roster, but he will return to the top-25 option from the top-10 QB in the re-draft for the dynasty, primarily based on his age and year of service.
Arv Smith Jr. – TE
If you’re looking for something that could * (or not) hit the Minnesota Vikings, then Tight & Arv Smith Jr. is going to be your guy. With him sidelined for the entire season last season due to a knee injury, Smith is likely to be a big part of a high-scoring offense with the Vikings.
He has yet to prove much on the field because his first chance is about to come when he was injured last season, but he was promised too much from Alabama and has no competition right now in that tight room.
For a position in fantasy football where there are 3 or 4 elite players, if you fill your roster spots, Smith can be a good option just like anyone else.