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2023 Fantasy Forecast: Minnesota Vikings

@DynastyPlumb walks us through the great offensive pieces on the Minnesota Vikings.

The Minnesota Vikings had an overall disappointing 2022 season.  They went 13-4 and lost in the wild card round to the underdog New York Giants.  The Vikings won an NFL record 11 one possession games.  However, this team has a lot to like offensively.  They were top five in passing yards and passing touchdowns and top 10 in rushing touchdowns.  Let’s break down the dynasty players and impact of the Minnesota Vikings.


Kirk Cousins

Captain Kirk has been with the Vikings for five seasons.  In 2022, he completed 424 passes for 4,547 yards and 29 touchdowns.  He finished the season as QB11 in PPR leagues. With the exception of 2019, Cousins has finished as a QB1 in every season.  While he doesn’t offer much in the way of rushing ability, he more than makes up for it with his arm.  Additionally, he is surrounded by phenomenal pass catchers, and I don’t foresee a dip in his production in 2023.  The absolute best part of Cousins is how undervalued he is in Superflex leagues.  Below are trades involving Cousins within a three-day span in late June 2023:

For a perennial QB1, a lot of these deals seem silly in Superflex format.  Buy Cousins and plug him in as your starting quarterback without worry.

Running Backs

Alexander Mattison

After four years of being a backup to Dalvin Cook, Mattison finally has the reins.  He has averaged 4.1 YPC through his first four seasons and has only amassed 1,670 rushing yards during his time in the NFL. Additionally, he has averaged 7.51 yards per reception and has shown a keen ability to catch the football out of the backfield.  Mattison has been one of the most sought-after handcuffs in the game these past few seasons.  With limited wear over his first four seasons, I think Mattison has the potential to have four solid years left in the NFL.  

Mattison looks to be going for a late 2024 first in value for 1QB leagues.  This feels about right in 1QB leagues.  Personally, I would look elsewhere as this is a pass-first offense, and we don’t know if Mattison can handle a top back workload for a full season just yet.  I’m very risk-averse when it comes to running backs.

Ty Chandler, Kene Nwangwu, and DeWayne McBride

All three were drafted in the past three seasons (Chandler in the 2022 fifth round, Nwangwu in the 2021 fourth round, and McBride in the 2023 seventh round).  However, Chandler and Nwangwu were not able to take the handcuff duties from Mattison while Cook was in town. The lead backup is unknown. Training camp will help sort this out.

Personally, I think it comes down to Chandler or Nwangwu being the backups. Both contributed on special teams and were drafted in rounds where running backs have found success. I feel McBride is on the outside looking in, as he seemed to have dropped significantly from where he was projected to go. Either way, this situation is murky at best, and I wouldn’t acquire any of these guys unless it was for an extra fourth-round pick I had and minimal roster depth.

Wide Receivers

Justin Jefferson

Not much needs to be said for this man.  He is my WR1 in all formats and my #1 overall player in 1QB leagues.  In his three seasons in the NFL, he has amassed 4,825 receiving yards.  This averages out to 1,608 yards per season.  In his first 50 regular season games, he has had ten or more targets in 28 of those games and over 100 receiving yards in 24 games.  

Looking at the Trade Finder, most trades for Jefferson involve two first-round picks plus a WR2 talent and at least one additional asset.  His value and price are sky-high. Jefferson is one of the few players with this high of a price tag that I do not view as a sell.  He is a true difference-maker. If you already roster him, breathe easy, and don’t sell for a few seasons.

Jordan Addison

Drafted in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, Addison immediately slots in as the WR2 on this offense, replacing Adam Thielen (who now will catch balls from Bryce Young). He was the fourth and final receiver to go in the first round. Known for his ability to stretch the field and excellent hands, Addison is the perfect complement to Jefferson. If you want a deeper dive into the college breakdown and NFL potential, please refer to Matthew Mitchell’s article. Adam Thielen had averaged 103 targets per season for the last three seasons, and two of those seasons were with Justin Jefferson.

When it comes to value in trade negotiations, it’s going to be difficult to go with precedent. Recent trades in the Trade Browser have going for all sorts of value, but the most consistent value I see is a 2024 first AND second-round pick. This is too high of value for me. If you were in love with Addison prior to your rookie draft, you probably already moved up to acquire him. Otherwise, I don’t think a first and second are a wise investment for a WR2 on this team (who will never surpass JJ on the depth chart) that we haven’t seen play in the NFL yet. A future mid-round first would be more in line with how I value him.

K.J. Osborn

Osborn was drafted in the fifth round of 2020, the same year as Jefferson. In his two NFL seasons (he had no production his first season), he has become a solid WR3 on a passing offense.

Over those two years, he has accumulated 110 receptions for 1,305 yards. Also, his production did not seem to be hindered or diminished once TJ Hockensen was acquired at the Trade Deadline. Osborn was the 45th highest-scoring receiver in 2022, which is decent depth in 12-team leagues. He only finished with 13 fewer points than Deebo Samuel. The WR30 (Adam Thielen) and WR45 (Osborn) finished within 25 fantasy points of each other. However, Osborn is basically free in 1QB leagues, with it costing either an early 2024 fourth-round pick or as a throw-in for a larger deal. Osborn is someone who could prove to be beneficial on your bench later in the season.

Tight Ends

TJ Hockenson

The Minnesota Vikings acquired Hockenson at the trade deadline last season. Irv Smith was unable to stay healthy, and the Vikings desperately needed a threat at tight end. Hockenson was been brilliant since entering the league in 2019. Since 2020, he has appeared in 45 games and averaged 11.91 fantasy points. He is an extremely consistent tight end and has only been better since coming to the Vikings. Even though he only played ten games with them, he caught 60 balls which ties K.J. Osborn for the third most receptions on the team. I currently have him ranked as my TE3 in fantasy, only behind Travis Kielce and Mark Andrews. Here are three recent trades where I would take the Hockenson side easily:

Josh Oliver

Josh Oliver signed a three-year $21 million deal this offseason. This is a surprising amount of money for a player who has been in the league for four seasons and only accumulated a total of 26 receptions for 230 yards. He played every game in 2022. Otherwise, he is extremely injury prone. Oliver profiles as the blocking tight end and does not appear to be a threat at all to Hockenson. Oliver is currently fantasy irrelevant and does not need to be rostered on your teams.

The 2023 Minnesota Vikings have one of the better fantasy squads in the NFL, where most of the players appear to have big-time roles and production. Possessing a perennial QB1, the top wide receiver, and a top three tight end, this offense looks to continue doling out tons of fantasy production in 2023.

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