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2023 Player Outlooks: Minnesota Vikings

By Colby Cavaliere | 7/17/23 |

QB Kirk Cousins
(2022 QB Rank Ė No.6, 21.5 FPts/G)

On paper and for most practical purposes, it was another solid statistical season for the perennial undervalued Kirk Cousins. Learning a new scheme, he guided the explosive Vikings offense to a 13-4 regular season record, throwing for a career high 4,547 yards, and piling up 31 total touchdowns. Heíll somehow get blamed for coming up short in the playoffs again, despite the fact he completed 80% of his passes for 273 yards and three total touchdowns in a defensive meltdown against the Giants.

Finishing as a standard scoring QB1 in seven of the last eight years, Cousins enters 2023 as one of the best fantasy values at the position. The Vikings seemed to have gone all-in on the passing game, ditching former All-Pro runner Dalvin Cook and drafting USC receiver Jordan Addison in the 1st round. Throw in the gameís best receiver in Justin Jefferson, rising youngster K.J. Osborn, and the 2022 acquisition of T.J. Hockenson, and Cousins has the gourmet ingredients to cook up a fantasy smorgasbord this season. Season that meal with another young defense thatís likely to struggle, and Cousins should continue to compile stats as heís done for a majority of his career. He may never get a team over the hump with a deep playoff run, but that hardly matters to your fantasy team. Snag a QB with top-5 upside, at a mid-round price.

Alexander Mattison

RB Alexander Mattison
(2022 RB Rank - No.51, 4.3 FPts/G)

After playing the dashing understudy to Dalvin Cook for a majority of his career, Mattison was resigned this off-season to a two-year deal, as Cook was sent packing. Mattison enters 2023 as the Vikings clear lead back, and he should be their workhorse based on previous usage. While filling in for an injured Cook in previous seasons, Mattison has five 20+ carry games. In those games, Mattison averaged 104 rushing yards, and scored three touchdowns. Throw in at least 24 receiving yards in each game, and you see the kind of numbers Mattison is capable of as an unchallenged three-down starter. Possessing a similar build and skillset to Cook, just with much less wear, it says a lot about Minnesotaís confidence in the 5th year back that they would cast off Cook despite possessing a ďwin nowĒ roster. Based on his poor inefficiency as a change of pace back, the heavy volume should benefit Mattison, and your fantasy team. With a 250-touch floor, dual-threat game, and chance for double digit touchdowns, Mattison is a rock solid RB2 in all formats.

RB Ty Chandler/DeWayne McBride
(2022 RB Rank - N/A)

As a 5th round pick stuck behind Cook and Mattison, Chandler didnít see the field until Week 18 with just six touches for 20 yards, but he likely has the upper hand as the backup, as only raw 7th rounder DeWyane McBride and kick returner Kene Nwangwu stands in his way. The Vikings seem intent to bolster the notion that runner backs have become replaceable parts in the modern NFL, as they have some of the fewest draft and financial capital invested in the position. While none of the backups are currently fantasy relevant, pay close attention to how this depth chart shakes out in camp. If McBride can develop 3rd down skills, his college production, and athleticism give him some serious upside on an offense as wide open as this one will be.

WR Justin Jefferson
(2022 WR Rank - No.1, 14.0 FPts/G)

After a historic two year start to his career, Jefferson was somehow even better last season. Blasting off to a 128-1809-9 season, Jefferson was simply unrecoverable for stretches of the season, including a dominant three-game stretch from Week 14-16 that likely propelled his fantasy owners to league titles. After the Hall of Fame start to his career, there isnít much fantasy analysis necessary here, as he is the consensus No.1 receiver. But Iíd be remiss if I didnít raise an eyebrow after watching Jefferson reduced to a mere moral in the final weeks of the season. 1-15-0 against the Packers, was followed up with a 4-38 dud in Week 18. When it mattered most in the playoffs, the Giants secondary was able to blanket the eventual Offensive Player of the Year, holding him to 47 empty yards on seven receptions. That three-game stretch was by far the worst of his young career, and was enough for the Vikings to upgrade the receiving core to take pressure off of Jefferson. Donít overthink things, just hope you somehow get a shot to draft him.

WR K.J. Osborn
(2022 WR Rank - No.42, 5.6 FPts/G)

Osborn put up solid numbers behind target hogs Jefferson and Adam Thielen during his first two NFL seasons. After back-to-back 650+ yard, 5+ touchdown seasons, Osborn opens the 2023 season as the starter next to Jefferson. After a quiet 2022, Osborne flashed down the stretch as teams dedicated major resources to stopping his All-Pro teammate. The former 5th rounder has become more than a simple field stretcher, and with the continued up-tempo, pass-happy style, has a chance to set career highs in targets, receptions and yards. Osborn could ascend to be a weekly WR3 in standard formats if rookie Jordan Addison doesnít eat into his share too much.

WR Jordan Addison
(2022 WR Rank - N/A)

They are certainly developing some quality NFL receiving talent over there at USC. Addison joins fellow Trojans Drake London, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Michael Pittman Jr., and Juju Smith-Schuster as players that are surely to be in fantasy starting lineups this season. All of those aforementioned players came into the NFL ready to ball, and contributed right away. In what was widely considered a deep position in the draft, Addison was the 4th receiver picked in the first round. While not as physically gifted as the other receivers drafted, Addison makes up for it with superior technical ability and elite production over his collegiate career. Rookie receivers adjust to the NFL game faster than ever, and if Addison can prove to be a quick study and establish chemistry with Cousins, he could overtake Osborne as the 3rd option in this passing game. Add Addison as an upside bench stash that could develop into a reliable WR3.

TE T.J. Hockenson
(2022 TE Rank - No.3, 7.5 FPts/G)

A surprise inter-division trade after Week 8, made Hockenson a Viking and he casually caught all nine of his targets for 70 yards in his Minnesota debut. More impressive than the targets and receptions, Hock produced those numbers with less than a week of practice. There was plenty more volume where that came from, as the former Lion saw no fewer than six looks in the remaining meaningful games. At the end of the season Hockenson ended up setting career highs in targets (129), receptions (86) and yards (877). He enters 2023 as the clear No.2 option in the passing offense, as the Sean McVay based scheme that Kevin O’Connel runs, demands a dominant route running tight end to function at an elite level. Hockenson is up there with Andrews and Kittle as the tight ends to own after his majesty Travis Kelce goes off the board.

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