The Minnesota Vikings were a consensus top three team in terms of fantasy football production as the combination of Brett Favre and Sidney Rice was lethal last season. But will the Vikings put on a repeat performance this season? I'll tell you the answer: player-by-player.
Brett Favre: Ah, Brett Favre. I know his annual retirement carousel is getting old but despite that and his old football age (Going to be 41 in October), Favre is still one of the top options in fantasy football.
Last season Favre had arguably the best season of his storied career, averaging 17.1 Fantasy PPG*, good for the fourth best scoring total in fantasy and the third best by a quarterback behind only Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers. When you consider that and his plethora of proven targets at his disposal, two of which being Percy Harvin and Visanthe Shiancoe, you have yourself a fantasy starter.
Adrian Peterson: Peterson was the consensus number two overall pick in ESPN Fantasy Football drafts this season, finishing behind only 2,006 yard rusher Chris Johnson. Peterson had an outstanding 2009 season as he averaged 16.6 Fantasy PPG. Peterson is not much of a safe pick anymore as the Vikings have the aforementioned quarterback, but he still is a reliable option in fantasy.
Peterson also is the Vikings top redzone option and that should lead to 14-17 touchdowns, which could help you win many close games come late season-fantasy playoffs.
Percy Harvin: Harvin was a fantasy surprise over his rookie season as last year Harvin put up decent numbers as he averaged 8.3 Fantasy PPG, good for the 21st wide receiving ranking but the number one ranking for rookie WR's. His value increases considerably with the Sidney Rice injury, as he should be the number one target for Brett Favre this season. Look for him to catch 3-5 touchdown passes this year so Harvin should put up decent fantasy numbers this season.
The only concern I have with Harvin are his lingering migraine headaches and besides him collapsing at practice a few weeks back, the headaches have been relatively minor (NOTE: Harvin is listed as probable for Week One at the New Orleans Saints).
Bernard Berrian: Berrian is another lead beneficiary of the Sidney Rice injury. Sure he did not have great numbers last season but in that year he was considered an afterthought with Brett Favre having Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin and Visanthe Shiancoe to throw to.
Now with Rice's injury, Berrian is the number two target for six weeks behind Percy Harvin and that could pay dividends for Berrian's fantasy value. Do not expect Berrian to put up 10-15 points, but do expect him to put a more realistic 6-8 points. In fact, I consider Harvin and Berrian to be a good fantasy handcuff this season and I also consider Bernard one of my sleepers to watch this season.
Sidney Rice: Sidney is out for six weeks as a result of hip surgery but when Rice comes back, look for him to make a decent impact in fantasy. Rice finished with an average of 10.6 Fantasy PPG last season, good for the 8th best wide receiver fantasy production.
Bernard Berrian's impact will hurt Rice's fantasy production, however small, but still expect Rice to make a decent fantasy impact this season as he will come back as Brett Favre's number one target.
Visanthe Shiancoe: Shiancoe did not put up the greatest numbers last season as he only finished up with an average of 7.2 Fantasy PPG, but he did finish with 11 touchdowns, good for second in the NFL last season by a tight end.
In addition, Shiancoe is another beneficiary of Sidney Rice's surgery, as I predict Visanthe will get the most redzone targets on the team during Rice's six week rehabilitation period which will lead to obviously, a hefty number of touchdowns for Shiancoe. I think Shiancoe will average 10 Fantasy PPG in Rice's absence and be a top five fantasy TE by seasons end.
The Vikings D/ST is consistently one of the most underrated units in fantasy football. Sack artist Jared Allen and the Williams' definitely bolster the defensive line, but the secondary is where the main concerns lie.
Cedric Griffin and Antoine Winfield went down with injuries last season and that doesn't include middle linebacker E.J. Henderson's broken femur.
The Vikings have a solid D/ST unit, but injury concerns continue to haunt the unit's fantasy legitimacy. You can acquire the Vikings D/ST, but I do not advise starting the unit.
Ryan Longwell: Longwell is consistently one of fantasy football's top kickers, and I predict that Longwell will once again live up to the hype.
Offensive questions for the Vikings in terms of the amount of touchdowns they will score along with the facts that wide receiver Sidney Rice is out for the first six weeks of the regular season and Ryan's ability to make 50 plus yard field goals bodes well for Longwell's fantasy stock and you should attempt to draft Longwell as your kicker if given the chance in the final two rounds of your fantasy football draft.
NOTES: As always good luck to everybody playing fantasy football, or any fantasy game for that matter. All fantasy points/rankings are based off of ESPN Fantasy Football's standard scoring system.