The Vikings went all in on a run-first approach in 2019, and they doubled down on that approach by sending Stefon Diggs off to the Bills this offseason. Dalvin Cook is going to be an elite Fantasy option as long as he's on the field, and Alexander Mattison figures to be one whenever Cook isn't. If all goes according to plan, it makes the passing game less inspiring, but a bounce-back season from Adam Thielen is certainly possible now that Diggs is out of the picture.   

2019 Review

Record: 10-6 (8th in NFL)
PPG: 25.4 (8) 
YPG: 353.5 (16)
Pass YPG: 220.2 (23) 
Rush YPG: 133.3 (6) 
PAPG: 29.1 (30)
RAPG: 29.8 (4)

2019 Fantasy finishes

QB: Kirk Cousins QB14 
RB: Dalvin Cook RB6; Alexander Mattison RB61
WR: Stefon Diggs* WR24; Adam Thielen WR64
TE: Kyle Rudolph TE14; Irv Smith TE32
* No longer on the team

Number to know: 8

Eight defensive players from 2019 — four starters and four role players — are no longer on the Vikings. A couple have been replaced by veteran free agents, but otherwise the team will turn to 2020 rookies and backups from 2019. That could be problematic for a Minnesota defense that's ranked in the top 10 in sacks five of the past six seasons and top 10 in pass yards allowed in three of the past four seasons. 

2020 Offseason

Draft Picks 

1. (22) Justin Jefferson, WR
1. (31) Jeff Gladney, CB
2. (58) Ezra Cleveland, OT
3. (89) Cameron Dantzler, CB
4. (117) D.J. Wonnum, DE
4. (130) James Lynch, DT
4. (132) Troy Dye, LB
5. (169) Harrison Hand, CB
5. (176) K.J. Osborn, WR
6. (203) Blake Brandel, OT
6. (205) Josh Metellus, S
7. (225) Kenny Willekes, DE
7. (244) Nate Stanley, QB
7. (249) Brian Cole II, S
7. (253) Kyle Hinton, G      


WR Tajae Sharpe; DL Michael Pierce and Eddie Yarbrough

Key Departures

WR Stefon Diggs; OG Josh Kline; DL Linval Joseph, Stephen Weatherly and Everson Griffen; CB Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes and Mackenzie Alexander; DB Andrew Sendejo and Jayron Kearse

Available Opportunity 

0 carries, 0 RB targets, 106 WR targets, 0 TE targets   

Rankings and Projections

player headshot
Jamey Eisenberg
player headshot
Dave Richard
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Heath Cummings
Kirk CousinsQB25QB26QB25
Dalvin CookRB5RB5RB5
Alexander MattisonRB53RB38RB55
Adam ThielenWR9WR13WR13
Justin JeffersonWR53WR52WR60
Kyle RudolphTE25TE32TE24
Irv SmithTE26TE25TE26
Vikings DSTDST15DST17DST11

Heath Cummings' projections
QBKirk Cousins3,869 YD, 26 TD, 9 INT; 82 Rush YD, 2 TD
RBDalvin Cook1,228 YD, 10 TD; 65 REC, 573 YD, 2 TD
RBAlexander Mattison539 YD, 1 TD; 11 REC, 94 YD, 1 TD
WRAdam Thielen132 TAR, 86 REC, 1,118 YD, 7 TD
WRJustin Jefferson81 TAR, 51 REC, 693 YD, 4 TD
TEKyle Rudolph56 TAR, 42 REC, 403 YD, 5 TD
TEIrv Smith51 TAR, 39 REC, 348 YD, 3 TD

Biggest Question

How will first-round pick Justin Jefferson and Thielen coexist?  

"Jefferson had an underrated sophomore campaign playing on the outside, but his raw stats really took off when he moved to the slot in LSU's historic 2019 season. Thielen does most of his damage in the slot as well, and Minnesota also features their inline tight ends in the passing game. They need an outside presence, and while both receivers can move around and Minnesota has flexibility, Cousins typically prefers his interior targets, meaning whoever winds up outside more will likely sacrifice some targets." - Ben Gretch 

One sleeper, one bounce-back, and one bust

CIN Cincinnati • #81
Age: 25 • Experience: 5 yrs.
2019 Stats

The Vikings used two tight ends more than 30 other teams last season (Philadelphia was first). Smith was involved plenty in the pass game, blocking on just 6.2% of pass snaps (Rudolph was at 16.7%) and lining up in the slot or out wide on 37% of his total offensive snaps. Minnesota needs all the help it can get with Diggs no longer on the squad, and Smith offers an aggressive size/speed mismatch for Cousins to lean on. 13% of his total targets were on deep throws, and he caught all three on-target tosses he received. It's a hint of how he might further contribute in 2020. Available with a late-round pick in every single draft, Smith's an easy low-risk gamble to take on Draft Day. 

CAR Carolina • #19
Age: 33 • Experience: 10 yrs.
2019 Stats

Trading Diggs is the best thing that could have happened to Thielen. For at least one more year, he figures to be Cousins' most trusted target. The issue isn't where he'll line up — expect him to be everywhere — the issues are whether or not the run game will overshadow the pass game again if the defense will be worse in 2020. If, for whatever reason, the Vikings can't be as effective on the ground, and if the defense, which lost several starters and contributors, isn't up to snuff, the door's open for Thielen to see as many as 150 targets. That's where he was right around in 2017 and 2018, and he was great. Draft him as a No. 2 receiver (Round 3 is fine, Round 4 is amazing) with upside to finish as a top-10 guy. 

NYJ N.Y. Jets • #33
Age: 28 • Experience: 7 yrs.
2019 Stats

There's an asterisk here. 

IF Cook's holdout is real and IF he misses training camp, I'll be nervous to draft him with a top-20 pick. We know Cook is dangerous when he's on the field, but if he's not going through the trials of training camp then, like past running back holdouts, his body could be unprepared when he does come back. That could lead to injury, and for a guy like Cook who has never played a 16-game season, that's really concerning. And what if his holdout extends into the season like Melvin Gordon's did? He'd still need a couple of weeks to round into game shape and he'd still be an injury risk upon his return. The new CBA makes holdouts kind of pointless for players, so here's hoping Cook either gets a deal he's happy with or shows up to training camp regardless. But we'll never know what he's thinking, which is why he's a challenging player to draft the longer he stays away from the team. 

Fantasy Previews 
AFC East: Bills | Jets | Patriots | Dolphins 
NFC East: Giants | Cowboys | Eagles | Redskins 
AFC South: Colts | Texans | Jaguars | Titans 
NFC South: Panthers | Bucs |  Falcons | Saints 
AFC North: Ravens | Steelers | Browns | Bengals 
NFC North: Packers | Vikings | Bears | Lions 
AFC West: Chiefs | Broncos | Raiders | Chargers 
NFC West: Seahawks | 49ers | Rams | Cardinals  

Which players are poised for breakouts, which sleepers do you need to jump on, and which busts should you avoid at all costs in your Fantasy football league? Visit SportsLine now to get early rankings, plus see which WR is going to come out of nowhere to crack the top 10, all from the model that out-performed experts big time last season.