Fantasy Football 2011: Adrian Peterson and 5 Relevant Minnesota Vikings Players
The new look Minnesota Vikings will not provide a high number of relevant fantasy players in 2011, but Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin could turn out to be two of the best at their respective positions.
Aside from these two, the Vikings are lacking viable fantasy football options.
Visanthe Shiancoe's value was killed when Kyle Rudolph came out of Notre Dame, even though the rookie is not expected to be featured quite yet.
Nobody knows who the second receiver will be and even the backup running back remains a question mark.
2011 may not be the brightest year for the Vikings in fantasy terms.
Let's take a look at five Minnesota players that will be relevant in fantasy football for 2011.
5. Ryan Longwell, Kicker
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Yes, the fact that Ryan Longwell is on the list of the most relevant Minnesota Vikings fantasy football players is a bit sad.
Unfortunately, there are too many questions at tight end for either Visanthe Shiancoe or Kyle Rudolph to replace Longwell.It appears that Shiancoe is still the starter, but Rudolph's receiving capabilities and need for experience as he pushes the former out of town is crucial.
Thus, I see neither becoming worthy of a roster spot at any point in time this season.
Expectations are low for the entire defense, causing their defense and special teams to go undrafted in almost all fantasy drafts in 2011—at least outside of the state of Minnesota.
So, that leaves Longwell.
He will be on a good amount of fantasy teams if the offense can find ways to stall in the red zone.
4. Bernard Berrian, Wide Receiver
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Bernard Berrian has not been able to live up to expectations since signing with the Minnesota Vikings in 2008, but he has a chance to prove himself after the departure of Sidney Rice.
Berrian's three years in Minnesota have shown signs of steady regression. He turned into a big-play threat in his first year, accumulating 964 receiving yards on 20.1 yards per catch with seven touchdowns.
Last year, even with Rice out for most of the season, he caught only 28 passes for 252 yards with a 9.0 yards per catch average and not a single touchdown.
Some thought it might be the end of his stint with the Vikings.
Now, it appears that he will start opposite the injury-prone Percy Harvin under new head coach Leslie Frazier. Berrian has the chance to get back to 2008 form and open up space for Harvin in the middle.
It may not be the worst idea to grab him in the late rounds of your draft and hope for a turnaround from old Berrian.
3. Donovan McNabb, Quarterback
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Despite what some Minnesota Vikings fans think, Donovan McNabb is no longer an elite quarterback. However, the team definitely could have done worse in their quarterback pursuit and McNabb will do better than most think in 2011.
Football fans expect him to have a Washington hangover in Minnesota and expect similar numbers from last season. His numbers were pretty discouraging, but the Redskins' roster was a mess.
Santana Moss and Chris Cooley were the only constants on the offense and they actually had decent seasons.
This year, McNabb will not rejuvenate his career in Minnesota. He will also not get benched for a lesser quarterback despite not being the problem. He will be a decent backup quarterback in fantasy football.
Ironic, I know, but this is about where McNabb's value will lie in 2011.
Yet, he's the third most relevant Viking in fantasy football.
2. Percy Harvin, Wide Receiver
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Percy Harvin, entering this season as the full-time number one receiver for the Minnesota Vikings, could turn to be a huge bust in 2011. Last year, he was the only trustworthy receiving option in a nearly non-existent passing attack.
So, there should be no reason for him to not post similar statistics in 2011, right?
Well, not quite. Donovan McNabb is no huge upgrade over Brett Favre and the team did not add any new weapons to take pressure off of him. In fact, all they did was lose Sidney Rice and add a couple of mediocre options that won't crack the starting lineup on most Sundays.
Yet, Harvin is likely to find success as a solid number two fantasy receiver.
He is too talented and versatile, allowing him to get the job done both down the field and after the catch. Although he does not have a viable receiving option to ease the defense's attention on him, he still has Adrian Peterson.
The last time I checked, Peterson is still the scariest running back in football and opponents will spend more time preparing for him than Harvin.
So, draft Harvin as a trustworthy number two receiver, but keep his past injuries in mind.
1. Adrian Peterson, Running Back
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Adrian Peterson is not only the most relevant fantasy football player on the Minnesota Vikings, but he may be one of the most relevant in the NFL.
Peterson is being selected as one of the top running backs and overall fantasy players, bringing huge expectations for the running back to shoulder.
Let's not act like he isn't used to it.
Since breaking out in his rookie season, he has had the pressure to carry both his team, despite the helpful year from Brett Favre in 2009 and fantasy football teams alike.
This year is no different.
The upgrade from Bryant McKinnie to former Indianapolis Colts tackle Charlie Johnson at the left tackle position bolsters the left side of the offensive line. Still, there are major questions on the right side.
Nonetheless, you should expect Peterson to battle for the right to be called 2011's top scoring running back in fantasy football.