2013 Team Outlook: Minnesota Vikings
WR Cordarrelle Patterson, MIN - Sleeper (undervalued)
Update (8/13): Patterson had a solid NFL preseason debut. He led the Vikings with four catches for 54 yards and added a 50-yard kick return on the first play of the game game. Patterson should push Jerome Simpson to the bench and secure a starting spot opposite Greg Jennings as Minnesota's starting X receiver.
The Vikings traded back into round 1 to select Patterson at #29 overall. He has ideal size (6-3, 205 pounds), but played just one year against D-1 competition after spending two years in junior college. CP set a University of Tennessee record with 1,858 all-purpose yards in 2012. Patterson is a dynamic kick returner and was the first player to score a touchdown four ways (receiving, rushing, kick return, punt return) in a single season since 2008. He tested very well at the combine, running a 4.42 forty with a 37-inch vertical and 10-foot-8 broad jump. There is no denying his dynamic playmaking ability, but raw route running and limited D-1 experience could give the rookie some growing pains in his first NFL season. Although Patterson is running behind Jerome Simpson at the X position in OTAs - we fully expect he unseats Simpson early on, making him an intriguing late round flier (especially in dynasty leagues). His current ADP has him coming off the board in rounds 10/11 as the 45th WR selected.
WR Greg Jennings, MIA - Solid/Safe Pick
The spokesman for Old Spice chose to join the division rival Vikings this offseason signing a five-year, $47.5 million contract, including $18 million guaranteed. Jennings will turn 30 this September and spent his entire 7 year career with Green Bay. He has missed 11 games the past two years (8 games last season) due to knee and groin injuries, but should be the clear cut #1 target for Christian Ponder in the passing game (no longer have to fight for targets with Jordy, Cobb, and James Jones). Jennings came on strong late last season leading the team in receptions, receiving yards, and TDs in Green Bay's final four games. From 2008-2010, Jennings averaged 75 catches for 1,223 yards per season and has totaled 53 touchdown catches (7.5 per season). He is expected to start at the flanker position in the Vikings offense - same spot manned by Percy Harvin (racked up 80 targets in the first half of the 2012 season before injuries hit). Despite the injury risk, the Western Michigan alum will have a lot to prove and should produce borderline WR2 numbers as the focal point of the Vikings' passing game. Jennings' current ADP has him being selected in rounds 7/8 as the 30th WR off the board.
WR Greg Childs, --- - Dynasty Only
The Vikings selected their 2nd Arkansas WR when they nabbed Childs with a 4th round pick in the 2012 draft. He has ideal size (6'3, 220), but injury concerns caused a draft day slide. Childs suffered a knee injury in October 2010 and never fully recovered during his senior 2011 season (only 21 catches for 240 yards). He led the Razorbacks in nearly every receiving category as a sophomore in 2009, finishing with 48 catches for 894 yards and seven touchdowns. His junior year was even more impressive as he had 46 catches for 659 yards before tearing the patella tendon in his right knee in the 8th game against Vanderbilt. He proved his health at a March 7 pro day by running a 4.41 forty and posting a vertical jump of 41 1/2 inches. Childs tore up both knees last offseason and his rookie year ended before it started. The oft injured WR could end up on the PUP list for 2013, but has shown some impressive progress this offseason despite the horrific injuries last season. The odds are strongly against Childs making an impact, but he was once viewed as 2nd/3rd round talent before the rash if injuries. For full details of his progress/status be sure to check this article : http://www.startribune.com/sports/vikings/211705771.html.
WR Jerome Simpson, SF - Deep-league Only
The acrobatic WR was a major flop during his first season in Minnesota as he finished with just 26 catches for 274 yards and zero touchdowns. The 27 year old WR battled back problems last season, but the Vikings surprisingly brought him back on a 1-year $2 million contract (must have one hell of an agent). In 2011 (with the Bengals), Simpson had his best season to date finishing with 50 catches for 725 yards and 4 touchdowns. Simpson won't be relevant( barring injuries) as he figures to be 4th on the WR depth chart behind Greg Jennings, rookie Cordarrelle Patterson and 2nd year WR Jarius Wright.
TE Kyle Rudolph, MIN - Solid/Safe Pick
The 43rd overall pick of the 2011 draft out of Notre Dame, Rudolph posted a solid 2012 fantasy season thanks to 9 touchdowns, but was less than impressiveon the season in the yardage department (53 catches for 493 yards - 31 YPG). He was held under 40 yards 11 times last season. Rudolph finished as the #9 fantasy TE in 2012 and remains a Ponder favorite in the red zone, which should help him maintain lower end TE1 status as he enters his 3rd NFL season.
TE John Carlson, --- - Low Potential
Carlson holds the dubious distinction of being quite possibly the worst free agent signing of the 2012 offseason. The Vikings moronically gave the oft injured TE a 5 year $25 million contract to serve as a backup to Kyle Rudolph. Carlson was paid $7.9 million in 2012 and finished with just 8 catches for 43 yards over 14 games (approx. $987,500 per catch). The 29 year old Notre Dame alum posted 12 TDs over his first two seasons, but has reached paydirt just once over the past 29 games in 2010/2012 (missed entire 2011 season due to injury). He has sustained four concussions in the NFL and will be hard pressed to regain any fantasy relevance barring an injury to Kyle Rudolph.