In the common day, many fans just can't live with just watching on Sundays anymore. We have to get more to fulfill the fix, like a drug. Some are stat sharks, some write articles about football (then again, who doesn't?) and even more play in the phenomenon known as Fantasy Football.
Then again, although many players love to take their hometown pride, it's best to know when you should appropriately draft them or to simply avoid them.
The Minnesota Vikings have their fair share of Fantasy studs and even some Fantasy duds, but who do you draft and who do you ride the lightning with? Kip and Smit weigh in...
--2008 Stats: FG 29/34 -- Long: 54 Yards -- PAT 40/40--
Kip- Longwell has proven time and time again that his years in the league and veteran poise keep him at the top of the league as far as fantasy value. The key to Longwell's 2008 stats is that he never missed a kick beyond 50 yards going 6 for 6 and not missing any below 30 yards. Longwell should prove to be busy this year if Minnesota has the same early season hiccups of getting into the endzone.
Longwell is a top five kicker, make no mistake. His consistent nature and simply the nature of the team of the team he plays on makes him a constant threat. He is very well a sleeper as a top three kicker but will go fourth or fifth off the board as far as kickers in drafts... just a simple draft rule of thumb, NEVER draft a kicker until the last round unless others are starting to take the quality off the board. It's a waste of a pick otherwise.
Smit- Ryan Longwell has become a solid top 5 Kicker in most fantasy leagues and with good reason! He has become a instant sure fire bet when it comes to kicking field goals. Especially long ones. He had a few games last season with the Vikings, when they needed his foot to win the game. Another plus about Longwell is he plays at leat 8 games indoors in the Metrodome. Always safe to go with an indoor kicker! But he is solid in out door weather too. He also is able to boot the long ones. If you get a chance in later rounds and need a kicker, he is one of the best pick ups. But please! Please don't waste a mid round pick on a kicker! You're only hurting yourself!
2009 Projected Stats
Kip- FG 30/33 -- Long: 53 Yards -- PAT 52/52
Smit- FG 31/34 -- Long: 53 Yards -- PAT 42/42
--2008 Stats: 141 Rec. Yards -- 11.8 Yards/Game -- 4 TD's--
Kip- Unlike my colleague, I don't think Rice is a solid #3 guy. Harvin will be a solid #3, but Rice has done nothing yet that merits a #3 fantasy status and I'm not willing to hand it to him based on a solid training camp. However, he is poised for a breakout season. Word has it from training camp that Rice is one of Favre's favorite targets.
I will give Rice this, if he stays healthy he can have a great year. With him entering the final year of his contract its poop or get off the pot time. I see Rice as a mid to late rounder in deep fantasy leagues, but certainly not a normal #3.... not until he proves his legitimacy.
A small tidbit, Rice gets most of his action on 3rd Down and 5+ yard situations.
Smit- The Minnesota Vikings sleeper of 2009, I think, will be WR Sidney Rice. He has had a phenominal Training Camp and I think he is ready to have a break out year. He is a redzone guy so he will get looks from Favre!
Also Sidney is a guy you can get in the late rounds after you have picked up 2 decent WRs. Rice will be a nice #3 type WR for any owner.
2009 Projected Stats
Kip- 534 yards -- 5 TD's
Smit- 878 yards-- 4 TD's
--2008 Stats: 645 Rec. Yards -- 40.3 Yards/Game -- 2 TD's--
Kip- Wade has proven he's the most reliable receiver in the Vikings arsenal, but without the legs to stretch the field, his primary duties lie within 15 yards of the line of scrimmage.
Wade is also a last resort for the Vikings when their passing game is faltering. With that said, it's no surprise that 400 of his 645 yards accumulated came in the second half of games last year.
Wade led the team in receptions last year and I personally have no doubt that he will again, but I think it's safe to say that his production might see a little fall with the addition of Percy Harvin and splitting time with Sidney Rice.
Fantasy-wise Wade can prove reliable in leagues where points are given per reception, but don't use pick on Wade unless you're in a deep league. Not draft-worthy by any stretch otherwise.
Smit- Bobby Wade led all Vikings recievers in receptions and has been a veteran for the Vikings' WR corps. But I think the addition of Percy Harvin, and Sidney being healthy again,will see Wade's #'s drop . He is still a decent #3 or #4 WR in drafts and is great possesion guy and sees some looks in the redzone. But I'm just not a big fan of Wade this season.
2009 Projected Stats
Kip- 528 yards - 2 TD's
Smit- 394 yards- 2 TD's
--2008 Stats: 798 All-Purpose Yards (399 Pass/399 Rush) -- 6 TD's (4 Rush / 2 Pass)
Kip- Taylor has starting ability almost half the teams in the NFL and part of that can be attributed to playing with Peterson.
His change of pace brings the Vikings offense a spark when Peterson is over-scouted on. Taylor proved this in the Vikings third preseason game at Houston when Taylor caught a 26-yard pass for a touchdown, Brett Favre's first as a Viking.
Unlike Smit, I don't think Percy Harvin will take too much from Taylor or Peterson. I see the Wildcat as an experiment in Minnesota, not a transition. Harvin might get 5 carries at most in games. However, I firmly believe if Taylor, Harvin and Peterson worked together on the field in the Wildcat, it could prove beneficial for all of them.
On the fantasy side of things Taylor could prove to be one of the best handcuffs in the league with Peterson. Taylor's ability in the receiving game makes him valuable then most running backs. I could see him as a seventh round grab as a #3 guy to assist with days off and a handcuff for those with Peterson.
Smit- Chester Taylor is a instant starter on any other NFL team. He is a superb runner and is has a quickness to bust through a whole and plow defenders down. He also is a great reciever when called upon to catch. Hi best attribut is is 3rd down running and his pass coverage. His ability to pick up the blitz and give the QB time to find a WR and throw is outstanding.
Expect to get Chester Taylor in the middle and late rounds seeing as he is behind Peterson and wont be given as much oppertunities.
Plus Percy Harvin may take away some touches from him if they use Harvin a Wilcat formation lining up with AP in the back field. Taylor is a safe pick for a #3 RB and good for replacing a #2 back on bye weeks
2009 Projected Stats
Kip- 415 Rush Yards -- 4 Rush TD's -- 422 Rec Yards -- 4 Rec TD's
Smit- 376 Rush Yards -- 4 Rush TD's -- 345 Rec yards -- 2 Rec TD's
--2008 Stats: 313 Points Allowed -- 45 Sacks -- 3 Safeties - 12 INT's -- 13 Fum Rec -- 3 Def TD's -- 3 Blocked Kicks -- 1 Return TD--
Kip- This defense has proven instrumental to the Vikings in recent years with having a #1 ranked defense against the run and a steadily improving pass defense to make the Vikings a defense a top five threat.
Threat would be the appropriate word as the Vikes have been built around their defense making it the focal point of their team and building to be an NFC contender.
The preseason proved that this defense isn't just well-built, but has promise with a lot of depth. The preseason ranks had Minnesota ranked #2 against the run, #3 against the pass and an overall #1 rank at overall defense. Barring it is the preseason and the Viking faced for the most part, cupcake teams, but the pass defense seems more sound then it has the past couple years.
Straight to the fantasy side of things, the Vikings in my opinion are the best defensive team. Most analysts will say they go off the board second or third as far as defenses go, but I'd say make the steal at the first chance you get when you see the likes of the New York Giants or Pittsburgh Steelers taken.
Like most defenses, don't touch them until your position players (QB, RB, WR, etc..) have their basic starters. I wouldn't wait through bench players to pick a defense since most better defenses can get you serious points comparable to your quarterback or running backs.
Smit- The Vikings Defense is one of the best defenses in the NFL. Especially against the run. The Vikings have been #1 stopping the run for the past four years and that streak wont end this season. Expect them to crush opposing RB's with the Williams wall in the middle and Jared Allen on the left end.
The Viking Pass defense has gradually gotten better every year. It's still not the bets in the league, but with CB's Antoine Winfield and Cedric Griffin covering WR's, opposing QB's will have to choose to throw under instead of trying to attack Winfield or Griffin. The Vikings also have one of the best in terms of depth at LB. With LB E.J. Henderson returning, the Vikings retain a HUGE piece of their Defense. Also Ben Leber and Chad Greenway have become tough LB's to beat, especially against the run.
I expect the Vikings to be the 3rd defense selected in most drafts behind the Giants and the Steelers. Of course don't waste a pick early on a defense.
The special teams will also see a HUGE improvement from last year! The Vikings gave up huge yardage to opposing teams and several TD's. However with the return of Heath Farwell and the additions of many other young play makers the special teams should improve! The Vikings also have may guys capable of scoring on punt returns and kick returns!
Pery Harvin, Jaymar Johnson and Derious Raynaud will see most of the workload when it comes to taking punts and kicks!
2009 Projected Stats
Kip- 297 Points Allowed -- 14 INT's -- 13 Fum Rec -- 3 Def TD's -- 2 Safeties -- 1 Blocked Kick -- 51 Sacks--
Smit- 278 Points Allowed -- 16 INT's -- 14 Fum Rec -- 5 Def TD's -- 4 Safeties -- 3 Blocked Kicks -- 54 sacks--
-1st Round Pick (22nd Overall)-
Kip- Harvin has great play-making ability that Childress covets and will give the Vikings an option as a Wildcat. Even more so, the Vikings will need his hands more then anything. The Vikings need someone to take pressure off Bernard Berrian and Peterson and Harvin may just fit the bill.
With Peterson and Harvin potentially in the backfield at the same time, much is to be worried about if you're on an opposing defense. Harvin shouldn't make immediate issues for opposing defenses, but he may develop this year into the player of the future for Minnesota.
Fantasy possibilities are endless for this kid. He has the ability to run and receive making his versatility a steal if drafted at all. He also may take on some return duties, although I have doubts that Darius Reynaud would be sitting on the sidelines based on what he's shown with ability in the open field.
Take Percy as a reserve receiver somewhere near the 9th-11th round. Any later and he'll probably be gone.
Smit- Percy Harvin is another Adrian Peterson like player for the Vikings offense. They can use him in Wildcat formations. He can line up as a WR, or in the backfield with AP or even throw a pass or two! (Don't hold your breath though!)
Percy Harvin brings an explosivness to the NFL. This guys can score on almost any play if given the ball. He is surely a true playmaker. The Vikings will also use him to take punt and kickoff returns meaning this guy can score in many ways. This guy is a # 3 WR and could have a stellar rookie year now that he is taking passes from Brett Favre. Best way to learn in the NFL.
2009 Projected Stats
Kip- 520 Rec Yards -- 180 Rush Yards -- 5 Rec TD's -- 1 Rush TD
Smit- 648 Yards -- 5 Rec TD's- 2 Rushing TD's- 2 Punt/Kick Return TD's
--2008 Stats: 596 Yards -- 37.2 Yards/Game -- 7 TD's--
Kip- Shaincoe has progressed over the course of the past few years sparking his career that seemed to only fizzle in New York. Last year was arguably a breakout year for the tight end and should only improve with a better QB at the helm.
Fantasy experts would tell you he's the sixth best tight end in fantasy... I argue that his touchdowns are too high to be not in the top 5. I would take Shaincoe a round or so after Witten gets taken, although arguably he has a better chance of being the top tight end. Shaincoe should be seventh round or eighth round kind of guy.
Visanthe's nose for the endzone makes him a sleeper in my book. He always seems to be a target in red zone situations.
Smit- Visanthe Shiancoe has become a solid scoring target at TE. He is quickly becoming one of the better TEs in the NFL. His numbers climb with each year he plays. So what does that mean for his owners? It means points for them. And now with Favre throwing to him, his numbers should climb even more. Its even possible Shiancoe could have a break out year! The reason is because Favre has always loved using the TE in the passing game. Which makes Visanthe, Favre's new best friend. He is worth a pick up during the mid to late rounds, especially after you have 2 WRs and your RBs are set for at least 3 players.
2009 Projected Stats
Kip- 790 Yards -- 7 TD's
Smit- 634 Yards -- 8 TD's
--2008 Stats: 964 Yards -- 60.2 Yards/Game -- 7 TD's--
Kip- A lot of people including myself thought Minnesota spent too much on Berrian and placing deep threat role on him without seeing really a lot to make that decision a legitimate one. However, in 2008, Berrian not only proved skeptics wrong, but led the team in receiving and tied the NFL record of a 99 yard catch from Gus Frerotte last season at the Dome.
Berrian is a threat, that much is certain. How big of a threat he will be in 2009 remains up for debate. With a plaguing injury and Favre joining the squad, many could make predictions across the board. I think, if I were Childress, I'd play it safe opening week against a porous Browns defense and just go with what I have to assure Berrian would be back at full health. Then again, Berrian might not be that bad and may be fine.
Berrian is a solid #2 fantasy receiver. I would not bet on him as a #1 guy simply because until he cracks the millennium mark, he's still a mid-reciever who could get grabbed in the fifth to sixth round.
Smit- Bernard Berrian- The Vikings finally got a deep threat last year, something thy haven't seen since the days of Randy Moss! Berrian's value has now gone sky high with Favre throwing to him! I see him as a strong #2 WR for owners and will be available till the middle rounds.
2009 Projected Stats
Kip- 1,257 Yards -- 11 TD's
Smit- 1,368 Yards -- 9 TD's
--2008 Stats: 3,472 Yards -- 343/522 -- 22 TD's -- 22 INT's -- 10 Fumbles --
Kip- Favre is going in with a lot riding on his rigid arm. For obvious reasons, this a clear dice role by the Vikings. Not to say the track record doesn't help, it by all means supports the Vikings in acquiring Favre. The problem will be how long before something happens.
Favre has the know-how and ability for this game and has for as long as some of us have been alive. Him strictly under center makes this team's fantasy value rise a tad bit. Berrian will see an improvement and even Purple Jesus might enjoy Favre in the backfield taking a couple guys out of the box.
Fantasy-wise however, he isn't starter worthy. He's good... like top 15 good... but not "carry my team" good. If you do draft him, make it late when you have your team almost set. Favre is decent for a bye week, but I certainly wouldn't put my teams fate in his hands.
Smit- Brett Favre is entering his 19th season and will be 40 in October! Not to mention he had surgery on his throwing arm and still has a torn tendon that he has had for a while and played through. This worries me. If he can stay healthy though and simply control the game and let AP lead he could have a decent year. He has some decent WRs to throw to and can still has one hell of a arm but it's nothing like it used to be. The Vikings wont have him throw 30+ passes/a game. He is a decent backup in late rounds of fantasy drafts.
His biggest upside is makin the players around him better. AP and the WRs. So possibly getting a Vikings WR isn't a bad idea.
2009 Projected Stats
Kip- 3,240 Yards -- 23 TD's -- 18 INT's -- 5 Fumbles
Smit- 2,984 Yards -- 24 TD's -- 14 INT's -- 2 Fumbles
--2008 Stats: 1760 Yards -- 110 Rush Yards/Game -- 10 TD's -- 9 Fumbles --
Kip- Peterson is THE guy for the Vikings and Fantasy Football. Nuff said.
Peterson's progressive improvement shows that he is no longer some kid, but the one player in the NFL you don't want to let by you.
His playmaking ability is compared to many greats like Walter Peyton or Eric Dickerson. Fine company to be named alongside, but thats not quite all. Peterson is heading into a year that could very well define his career. The Vikings are calling their shot in 2009. (Or you can say that Childress risking on Percy Harvin and Brett Favre as smart sound strategy)
Peterson is the top pick in the draft on 2009. If the nimwit who has the number one pick passes on #28, you better be sure to remind him why you don't want to skip on Adrian Peterson.
Smit- Adrian Peterson is the best running back in the NFL. So you better hope you have the # 1 pick in your fantasy draft! Because AP will be gone faster then Brad Childress' hair! Seriously! He is the #1 overall pick in almost EVERY Fantasy Football draft!
2009 Projected Stats
Kip- 2, 140 Yards -- 15 Rush TD's -- 4 Fumbles
Smit- 2,126 Yards -- 16 Rush TD's -- 3 Fumbles -- 2 Rec TD's
And now for some final thoughts looking at the 2009 season, starting in less then a week...
Who will be the sleeper of 2009?
Kip- Sidney Rice. He's got a big chance to make his shot and prove he's a legitimate NFL receiver.
Smit- I think the Vikings sleeper this year for 2009 is going to be Sidney Rice. I really like Sidney, he always a redzone threat. Had injury problems all last year in the 2008 season. So you didn't get to see much of him. Regardless, He has had an outstanding Training Camp, he's a great WR at running routes and getting open down field. and I think with Brett Favre's experience he will be that red zone guy again and with be productive all season long!
Who wil be the bust of 2009?
Kip- I honestly hope he doesn't bust, but Bernard Berrian has the most cards stacked against him heading into the regular season. Without a single preseason play under his belt, he's heading into the season as target number one for Brett Favre and he has yet to take a pass from the hall of famer. Call it being cautious, but I hope that I'm wrong.
Smit- I think this years Minnesota Vikings bust has got to be Bobby Wade. Granted he's not a huge name at WR, but he will see a lot of playing time and catches taken away from him with Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice. I just don't think he will get the ball like he did last year.
How many games will Brett Favre play and start in 2009?
Kip- 14. I'm thinking he'll fall at some point. Whether intentional or not.
Smit- I think Brett Favre will start ALL 16 regular season games! I know the Vikings have a new look at offensive line after loosing veteran Center Matt Birk. However they still have three main pieces in Steve Hucthinson, Bryant Mckinnie, and Anthony Herrera. The Vikings will have two new guys on the line in 2nd year Center John Sullivan and rookie Right Tackle Phil Loadholt who is a giant! If this offensive line can stay healthy and do what there supposed to do, which is protcet Brett, he should be able to play all season long. It all depends on if his arm can hold up 16 games and if the two young guys on the line can ajust to the fats speed on the NFL and it's grueling opposing defenses.
How many sacks will Antoine Winfield get in 2009? How many touchdowns?
Kip- 5 sacks. Too many offenses didn't account for him last year and that's how became a threat. He'll get to pay dirt at least once, maybe twice.
Smit- Antione Winfield, I think, will prove he was worth the contract extension with the way he plays into 2009. Now let's face the facts, Winfield is 32 and he isn't getting younger! But this guy play with an incredible amount of talent! He does NOT play his age! He looks like a 26 year old Corner-Back out on the field. Not to mention he is also a leader in the secondary and to the defense as a whole. I expect at least four to five INT's this year and three touchdowns.
Is Brett Favre worth the risk with the amount of talent around him?
Kip- It all seems too good to be true that the likes of Brett in Minnesota at this moment in time... and ironic.
All the same, with the talent that's here in Minnesota, the coach that is now on the hot seat and the veteran presence that is now coming to its best years, now is the time if any for the Vikings fabled Super Bowl run.
Will be worth it, regardless... yes... The Vikings organization at this point at worst will at least have sold out all its games and a lot of merch to support the franchise. In any case you wanna look at it. It's an exciting time for Viking fans and should answer the question if the Vikings are really THE contender of the NFC.
Smit- The Minnesota Vikings season will be remembered for Brett Favre. What will his legacy be remembered here in Minnesota? Brett Favre is the final piece to the Vikings puzzle. They have been missing consistency and leadership at QB since the departure of Daunte Culpepper. The Vikings have Adrian Peterson, the best RB in the NFL who will see less defenders in the box and is set to have a EXPLOSIVE year! There is no doubt this may be the year we see AP hit the 2,000 yards mark, a achievement only a few select, gifted RB's have ever reached. The addition of Favre instantly make the Vikings players better and the entire team better. The WR's now have solid play at QB to get the ball in their hands. Favre will make those WR's better then they are expected of on any other given day. If this team plays well and can avoid injuries, they very well could see their first Super Bowl in franchise history!