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Vikings fantasy focus

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Recent posts by Eric Edholm

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Posted Aug. 03, 2011 @ 11:01 a.m. ET
By Eric Edholm

Here's a look at the Vikings' current skill-position players from a fantasy perspective:

QB Donovan McNabb — In theory, it should be McNabb's starting spot. The lockout probably means that Christian Ponder isn't ready, and McNabb probably is better than his 2010 season suggests. But is he anywhere close to the fantasy star he was earlier in his career, even as recently as 2-3 seasons ago? No. Look elsewhere for your fantasy starter.

QB Christian Ponder — The lockout probably killed his chances of being a Week One starter, but the Vikings love him and he has a chance to start in time. There are enough weapons in this offense for Ponder — whenever he gets his chance — to be a better-than-average rookie QB. Just don't set your sights too high. He hasn't spent a day yet with his teammates or coordinator Bill Musgrave.

QB Joe Webb — A supersleeper who probably won't make much of a weekly contribution, but he could be worth watching if he earns the starting job. Still, he's way too risky to draft.

QB Rhett Bomar — A long shot who probably won't be in the picture if Webb shows anything in camp.

RB Adrian Peterson — Peterson is a few-questions-asked top-three fantasy pick who is primed for another big season as he tries to earn a mega-contract, although the loss of WR Sidney Rice and the confusing state of the offensive line are concerns. If the Vikings cannot pay up, some other team will when Peterson becomes a free agent following this season. He is 26 years old and entering his fifth season — when Hall of Fame backs Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton and Marcus Allen had some of their finest seasons. Considering he ran so well last season when most things were burning down around him, Peterson should be in line for another big campaign.

RB Toby Gerhart — Peterson owners were giddy about handcuffing the ballyhooed rookie last year, but Gerhart was mostly disappointing. However, he's a talented, high-effort runner who should be able to carve out a decent part-time role and perhaps even a choice red-zone assignment.

RB Albert Young — If he could have shown something by now, he would have. Move along.

RB Lorenzo Booker — Was not bad in a brief late-season call-up, although he was much better on special teams than on offense. Perhaps he can win the No. 3 RB role, but you should not consider him highly at all.

FB Ryan D'Imperio — This converted linebacker might make a fine fullback, but he spent last season on the practice squad — and even if he becomes a quality player, it will be as a lead blocker and not as a ballcarrier.

WR Percy Harvin — Harvin is a dangerous slot receiver and budding fantasy star who has had trouble staying healthy, but he was muted quite a bit without Sidney Rice (now a Seahawk) on the field last season. Whether it's his nagging injuries or troublesome migraine headaches, Harvin also has been set back in his two pro seasons. And yet despite his, his electric ability is undeniable, and fantasy owners appear to be excited by his potential, so you will have to strike early to get him. By all indications, Harvin will be an ideal fit in the new offense, but he would have been even more dangerous had Rice stuck around.

WR Bernard Berrian — Most team observers are surprised that the Vikings kept Berrian, who carries a high salary-cap value and has seen his production drop off. But the loss of Rice and few other free-agent options made is necessary. Berrian is billed as a deep receiver, but he hasn't had much downfield production and neither of the QB candidates are considered great deep-ball throwers. Best to stay away.

WR Michael Jenkins — Don't get too excited that Jenkins came from Atlanta, where Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave has come over from. His career high in catches is 53 (in 2007), his high in yards is 777 (in ’08) and the seven-year veteran has scored more than four TDs only once in his career (in ’06). Jenkins is simply a possession receiver who was signed to keep Harvin where he is best: in the slot.

WR Greg Camarillo — He won't be draft-worthy in most leagues, but don't completely snooze on Camarillo. He was thrown into the fire late last season and has some skills as a possession receiver. You might see an across-the-board improvement in his production in 2011 after a down '10 season.

WR Juaquin Iglesias — Love deep sleepers? This might be your guy. The former third-round pick has been a disappointment to this point, but Vikings coaches think he might have some salvageable skills. Still, we have no idea if you even should consider drafting him at this point. Likely not until he shows something.

TE Visanthe Shiancoe — He had a disappointing season, as many Vikings did in 2010, but a closer look at Shiancoe's numbers shows that there was only one big difference (and it was big for fantasy players): his touchdown total. That number fell — sank, really — from 11 to two last season, as Brett Favre struggled to find his tight end for scoring chances. The QB situation, Shiancoe's fall and the drafting of Kyle Rudolph have fantasy owners running for the hills this season, but all hope is not lost. He's entering a contract season, remains in his prime at age 31 and might be due for a bounce-back campaign.

TE Kyle Rudolph — Many fantasy owners are drawing comparisons between Rudolph and 2010 rookie standout Rob Gronkowski, both of whom are fine athletes who had major injuries in their final college season. There are some similar traits between the two, but expecting Rudolph to have a 10-TD debut like Gronkowski did would be putting some very unfair expectations on him. That said, the team will use plenty of two-TE formations and expect to work him in early, assuming he is healthy.

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