2011 Team Outlook: Minnesota
WR Percy Harvin, BUF - Solid/Safe Pick
Despite the migraine concerns, Harvin has missed only three games in his brief career. He remains one of the best slot WR in the league and an ideal target in dynasty leagues. In two seasons with the Vikings, Harvin has averaged 65 catches for 829 yards (57 YPG) while totaling 12 TDs. The 22 year old Harvin is a threat to score from anywhere on the field and his fantasy stock gets a boost by those in leagues that reward kick return yardage. He is a high end WR3 with the potential to emerge in his 3rd season as the Vikings figure to focus more on the intermediate passing game with Christian Ponder at the helm.
WR Michael Jenkins, --- - Deep-league Only
As the number #2 wide receiver and number three target for Matt Ryan, Jenkins was a player who you could reliably count on for about 50 receptions a year. The Falcons' selection of rookie Julio Jones made Jenkins expendable and his reunion with Vikings OC Bill Musgrave (former Falcon QB coach) should allow the former first round pick to hit the ground running. At 6'4, 217 pounds the Ohio State alum could become a favorite in the red zone, but his yardage totals will likely be pedestrian -- limiting him to WR5 status at best. He's yet to average more than 50 YPG in any of his first 7 seasons and is more known for his downfield blocking prowess -- good news for AP owners, but not a good sign for Jenkins' fantasy prospects.
WR Bernard Berrian, --- - Over the Hill (decreased production)
Berrian's 6-year $44 contract (signed in 2008) marks one of the bigger mistakes by the Vikings in recent memory. The 30 year old WR has seen a dramatic decline in a production, making him a candidate to be a cap casualty. Since back to back 900 yard seasons in 2007/2008, Berrian's last two seasons have dropped him off the fantasy radar as he has amassed 870 yards and 4 TDs including only 252 yards in 2010.
WR Greg Camarillo, --- - Low Potential
Camarillo's first season in Minnesota was less than impressive as he finished with 20 catches for 240 yards and 1 TD. Other than filling in when Percy Harvin was sidelined with migraines, the 5 year NFL vet was an afterthought in the Viking passing game. The projected 3rd WR on a team likely to have a rookie QB shouldn't be selected unless you are in a 20 team league. Of course his fantasy stock could rise significantly if Sidney Rice exits via free agency.
TE Kyle Rudolph, MIN - Super Sleeper (high risk/potential)
Durability concerns dropped this first round talent into the 2nd round and Minnesota went with the best player on their board. The Notre Dame alum measured 6-foot-6 and 259 pounds at the combine with massive 10 1/4-inch hands and 34-inch arms (assets to his blocking ability). Rudolph suffered a shoulder injury in 2009 (missed 2 games) and hamstring surgery that cost him all but six games in 2010. His ball skills and route running were noted as the best in this draft class, making him an intriguing option for those in dynasty leagues. Playing in a pro style offense at ND should limit his learning curve to the next level and with Shiancoe a potential free agent at season's end, Rudolph could have the job to himself in 2012.
TE Visanthe Shiancoe, --- - Solid/Safe Pick
TE Visanthe Shiancoe was a red zone monster in 2009, finishing with 11 touchdowns. However, as the Vikings' passing game struggled in 2010, V-Shank's fantasy appeal came crashing down as he finished with only 2 TDs last season. In his past three seasons, the 8-year vet out of Morgan State has averaged only 564 yds/season (under 40 yds/game), making him best drafted as a TE2, considering the Vikings added rookie Kyle Rudolph in round 2 of April's draft. We expect Minnesota to employ more 2-tight end sets in Bill Musgrave's offense, but we don't foresee the same level of success as New England enjoyed last season (with rookies Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski) as Christian Ponder is no Tom Brady. Shiancoe is now 30 years old and will be a free agent at the end of 2011, meaning he should be motivated to prove that 2009 wasn't a fluke. He is yet another player that could see his role expand dramatically (especially in the red zone) if Sidney Rice is elsewhere.