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Digging into ESPN’s Vikings fantasy projections

As NFL fans start analyzing fantasy draft boards, they will find plenty of Minnesota Vikings toward the top. ESPN has released its fantasy projections for this season, let’s have a look at their expectations for 2018…

Kirk Cousins

ESPN 2018 fantasy projection: 4,328 yards, 27 touchdowns, 14 interceptions

Rank: 8th

The last time Cousins had weapons around him this good, he nearly reached 5,000 yards passing, but the Vikings are likely to rely more on their running game than the 2016 Washington team and they should have a much better defense, which means fewer shootouts for Cousins. Following a season in which the Vikings rarely turned the ball over, ESPN’s fantasy machine sees a high number of interceptions — in fact 14 picks would be Cousins’ career high. Mike Zimmer certainly wouldn’t be pleased with that.

Dalvin Cook

2018 projection: 261 rushes, 1,107 yards, seven touchdowns, 53 receptions, 500 yards

Rank: 8th

Cook made a strong first impression in three-and-a-half games before suffering an ACL injury last year. Fantasy owners are banking on him coming back strong. With Latavius Murray still in the backfield, it’s unlikely Cook gets 300 carries, but he will be a main feature of the offense in the rushing and passing game. Whether he reaches some of these plateaus may depend on how quickly he starts following the injury.

Adam Thielen

2018 projection: 85 receptions, 1,192 yards, seven touchdowns

Rank: 10th

Thielen became Case Keenum’s go-to receiver last season, posting one of the franchise’s best seasons in history. ESPN isn’t expecting any drop off from 2017. With little depth behind Thielen and Stefon Diggs, Cousins will have to rely heavily on his two top-notch receivers.

Stefon Diggs

2018 projection: 82 receptions, 1,045 yards, six touchdowns

Rank: 14th

Diggs’ fantasy production may depend largely on how he’s used by John DeFilippo. In 2016, he routinely lined up in the slot, but he was used more as an outside receiver and deep threat in 2017. But on a per-pass basis, he was just as effective or more last year.

Kendall Wright

2018 projection: 43 receptions, 512 yards, two touchdowns

Wright is a tough one to figure. ESPN has fairly high expectations for his fantasy production, but it’s unclear exactly where he will fit in. The former Titan and Bear signed a one-year deal worth just $1 million. That could end up being a steal for the Vikings or Wright could find himself in the same limited role as Jarius Wright.

Laquon Treadwell

2018 projection: 10 receptions, 124 yards, one touchdown

ESPN’s projections are not expecting much from Treadwell, likely due to the signing of Kendall Wright. However, his role will likely be determined by training camp and preseason. The 2016 first-round pick will have an opportunity to earn playing time in camp.

Kyle Rudolph

2018 projection: 60 receptions, 612 yards, seven touchdowns

The Vikings’ reliable tight end is expecting a big season. When DeFilippo was with the Cleveland Browns, his tight end was the No. 1 receiver on the team. Last year Philadelphia’s Zach Ertz was top dog for the Eagles. With two terrific receivers, Rudolph may end up with a similar job as last year: Make big catches on third down and in the red zone.

Defense

2018 projection: 4th (behind Jacksonville, Philadelphia and Los Angeles), 44 sacks, 13 interceptions, 321 points against

Despite the Vikings’ defense adding Sheldon Richardson, it’s fair to expect more points allowed simply on the schedule alone. Matching up against Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Carson Wentz, Russell Wilson and the explosive Rams offense could create some more challenges.





vikings

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