It's been a long time since anyone outside of Adrian Peterson was reliable for fantasy purposes for the Minnesota Vikings.
Some folks had high hopes for Greg Jennings in 2013, but that didn't really pan out. The same goes for Kyle Rudolph, who helped some tight end-desperate clubs occasionally before getting injured. Jerome Simpson is pretty much just meh.
Rudolph: Norv's next TE project
Cordarrelle Patterson, the Vikes' first-round pick (29th overall) in the 2013 draft, showed flashes of brilliance and explosiveness late in the season. Leslie Frazier and the Minnesota coaching staff were slow to get the former Tennessee Volunteer involved in the offensive game plan, but once he was incorporated, we were all able to see that he has plenty of upside.
The reason for the lack of success on offense in Minny has been the absence of a consistent and capable quarterback. Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel and Josh Freeman all failed to impress in 2013. If (and that's a big IF) the Vikings can score a quarterback that can come in immediately and make plays with their eighth overall pick in this year's draft, then we just might have the makings of an offense turning things around quickly.
There are a handful of QB prospects that could be available for Minnesota to take with their first pick, too, including Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M), Blake Bortles (University of Central Florida) and Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville).
The addition of Norv Turner as the offensive coordinator should go a long way, regardless of whether the Vikes land a stud rookie gunslinger, in turning things around on O. New head coach Mike Zimmer is a defensive mind, so Turner should have his way to turn this offense into the aggressive vertical machine he typically likes to work with. Turner doesn't have playoff success, but he usually is adept at creating fantasy-relevant playmakers at the wide receiver and tight end positions.
Turner's one-year stint saw him do some pretty impressive things for a Cleveland Browns squad that was working with Jason Campbell, Brandon Weeden and Brian Hoyer behind center. Josh Gordon morphed into one of the elite wideouts in the league and Jordan Cameron became a scoring threat. If he did that in Cleveland, he can surely do it in Minnesota.
Patterson should continue to improve, and in Turner's system, the sky is the limit. A healthy Rudolph will surely be utilized to Minnesota's advantage, too, giving him more value than he's had in the past. Peterson will continue to be the stud that he's always been. But now, he may just have a little more help. A solution at QB is the big question mark, but look for more of Minnesota's weapons to be fantasy-relevant all season long in 2014.
About Keith Hernandez
Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.
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