If the fantasy football experts at ESPN are correct, the Minnesota Vikings will be having a huge year on the offensive side under new coordinator John DeFilippo.
This week five ESPN fantasy analysts ranked their top players at quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end. At least one Viking landed in the top 10 at every position.
Here’s how they ranked:
QB, Kirk Cousins – 7th
ESPN projected stats: 4,327 yards, 27 touchdowns, 14 interceptions
Cousins has posted three straight seasons over 4,000 yards and is joining a Vikings team that not only has great weapons but also features a defense that should get him the ball back in good field position. If the Vikings are as successful in the red zone under John DeFilippo as they were with Pat Shurmur, fantasy owners will be pleased to have Cousins.
RB, Dalvin Cook – 8th
ESPN projected stats: 269 carries, 1,142 yards, seven touchdowns, 53 catches
Assuming Cook bounces back from an ACL tear quickly, he will be the centerpiece of the Vikings’ offense. His versatile skill set gives DeFilippo the chance to use him in all situations and as both a rusher and pass catcher. Cook has a shot at putting his name within the top all-round backs like LeSean McCoy, David Johnson and Le’Veon Bell.
WR, Adam Thielen – 10th
ESPN projected stats: 85 catches, 1,192 yards, seven touchdowns
Last season a change in role boosted Thielen’s numbers from 69 catches in 2016 to 91 in 2017. He lined up more often as a slot receiver, setting him up for an underneath game to go along with his downfield receiving prowess. With the signing of Kendall Wright as a slot receiver, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Thielen’s catch totals go down somewhat and his yards per catch go up.
WR, Stefon Diggs – 16th
ESPN projected stats: 82 catches, 1,044 yards, six touchdowns
If not for a handful of games missed over the last two years, Diggs might have been a top fantasy receiver. Last season he was dominant on the outside after a year mostly playing slot in 2016. Cousins should be spreading the ball around to all of his weapons the way Case Keenum did last year, but whether Diggs reaches 82 will depend on how he’s used.
TE, Kyle Rudolph – 9th
ESPN projected stats: 60 catches, 611 yards, seven touchdowns
You can bet that DeFilippo is going to use Rudolph in the red zone. His overall reception numbers dipped from 2016 to 2017, but he was more efficient and effective inside the 20 last year. The Vikings did not add another tight end outside of drafting Tyler Conklin in the fifth round, leaving Rudolph to be a main target again.