The Vikings are an easy team to evaluate from a fantasy football perspective. They give the ball to Adrian Peterson and pray. I really felt Teddy Bridgewater would have a breakout season in 2015. He did not. Until Peterson is gone, I wouldn't expect the Vikes to do a whole lot of passing. It makes it easy for fantasy analysis but is frustrating for those of us that believe in Bridgewater and his pass catchers.
The Vikings drafted Laquan Treadwell in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft. In theory, that means they are wanting to open up the offense. Treadwell was considered the best receiver in the draft by some, but there were three who you could have made a case for. The ironic thing about drafting Treadwell is that he was easily the best blocking WR in the draft. So it might mean more in the passing game, but it also means they are still investing in the running game.
Teddy Bridgewater (QB) - 3500 yards, 20 TDs, 8 Ints.
Teddy, unfortunately, is not a fantasy option, yet. He really isn't even a streaming option, either. My hope for Bridgewater is that when Peterson finally slows down - he's 31, which for RBs is as old as father time - the team becomes Teddy's. That's not going to be this season. If you're taking Bridgewater, it should be in a dynasty or deep keeper formats. On a good note, Bridgewater raised his yardage and dropped his interceptions in 2015. I do see him raising his yardage and touchdown totals again this year with the addition to Treadwell.
Adrian Peterson (RB) - 1200 yards, 10 TDs, 25 catches, 150 yards.
Peterson is part of the "Elite 7" in 2016 fantasy drafts. Peterson should go within the first seven picks. There's very little to say about Peterson that hasn't already been said. He's been the most consistently good player in fantasy. If you want consistency, take Peterson. He will have a down year at some point; there's just no evidence it's this one.
Stefon Diggs (WR) - 75 catches, 900 yards, 4 TDs.
At one point during the 2015 season, Diggs looked like he would be vying for Rookie of the Year. That was relatively short lived. Diggs did end as the Vikings best receiver, even as a rookie. He did only have 52/720/4, but, in this offense, that should project well for 2016. Diggs had Mike Wallace opposite him in 2015. This season, he has Laquan Treadwell, a rookie that should be much better than Wallace. Diggs will be the go to WR to begin the season. He is being drafted as the 40th WR overall, which is exactly where he should be drafted.
Laquan Treadwell (WR) - 65 catches, 800 yards, 6 TDs.
As a Lions fan, I was hoping the Lions would draft Treadwell. Treadwell fell to the Vikings at 23, which, in my opinion, was a steal. Treadwell will have a hard time getting the targets to justify a high selection in any fantasy football league that is not a dynasty. He is going as the 38th WR off the board, and, like Diggs, that sounds about right. I will own Treadwell on more teams than I will own Diggs, but I expect I will own both in a few leagues. Treadwell has great size and is great at the point of catch. He should lead the team in TD receptions. Don't overdraft Treadwell, but when it's a value, don't be afraid of him.
Jerick McKinnon (RB)
There is a simple reason to draft McKinnon as one of the first handcuffs off the board: Peterson is 31 years old. If the Vikings decide to limit Peterson a bit because of his age, McKinnon could have standalone value. I don't see that happening with an icon like Peterson, though. McKinnon is a great pick in dynasty startups and deep keeper leagues. He's a handcuff that should be added before every Sunday even if you just drop him on Tuesday waivers.
The passing game
If you draft Diggs, Treadwell, Bridgewater, or Kyle Rudolph as a key source of production, you will be sorely disappointed. Most people won't draft them that way, but, like me in recent years, the shiny new objects do get some play. Treadwell and Diggs look like an up and coming group of receivers, and they might be, but they won't be reliable week to week until the Vikings open up the offense.
The Vikings might not be the most exciting team for fantasy production, but they will be a good team that's fun to watch because of the defense. Here's to hoping they take the lid off of Teddy Bridgewater's game this season.