The Minnesota Vikings were one of the surprisingly consistent Fantasy Football offenses in 2022 -- specifically in the pass game -- and they added even more firepower for the 2023 season. The Vikings bring back the same system that went nearly as pass-heavy as any team, but this time they'll have a first-round rookie receiver (Jordan Addison) to pair with Justin Jefferson. Dalvin Cook is gone, which means Alexander Mattison gets a chance to lead the backfield and Kirk Cousins inherits the best weapons he's had arguably in his entire career.
- NFC North: | |
Below the CBS Sports Fantasy staff will take a look into the Vikings' entire team outlook, including a burning question for Fantasy Football managers that needs to be answered, key player projections, a review of their draft class, strength of schedule, and individual player outlooks for notable Vikings players who may end up on your Fantasy rosters.
Vikings 2023 team outlook
By Chris Towers
The VIkings offense was a lot more pass-heavy last season as expected, and it helped lead to a 13-4 regular season record, but it wasn't enough to push the Vikings to the next level in the playoffs. That next step is going to have to come from the defensive side of the ball.
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Burning question: How does Mattison handle lead role?
The Vikings released Dalvin Cook in early June, which means we're going to see Mattison get his first chance to be a full-time lead back. Mattison has averaged 20.4 PPR points per game in six games that Cook has missed in his career, but we've never seen him asked to fill that role for more than a week or two at a time. If he can stay healthy as a legitimate three-down back, Mattison has top-12 upside, and that might be underselling him. He could be one of the make-or-break players of this Fantasy season.
Vikings player projections
|QB||Kirk Cousins||PA: 637, YD: 4460, TD: 29, INT: 14; RUSH -- ATT: 42, YD: 147, TD: 2|
|RB||Alexander Mattison||CAR: 251, YD: 1056, TD: 9; TAR: 38, REC: 29, YD: 230, TD: 1|
|RB||Kene Nwangwu||CAR: 105, YD: 440, TD: 4; TAR: 19, REC: 15, YD: 122, TD: 1|
|WR||Justin Jefferson||TAR: 178, REC: 124, YD: 1753, TD: 10|
|WR||Jordan Addison||TAR: 121, REC: 73, YD: 908, TD: 6|
|WR||KJ Osborn||TAR: 89, REC: 58, YD: 591, TD: 4|
|TE||TJ Hockenson||TAR: 134, REC: 88, YD: 839, TD: 6|
2023 NFL Draft class
Strength of Schedule rankings by Dave Richard
- QB PSoS: 16th easiest
- RB PSoS: 19th easiest
- WR PSoS: 18th easiest
- TE PSoS: 28th easiest
|1||Sep 10, 2023||vsTampa Bay||1:00 pm||U.S. Bank Stadium|
|2||Sep 14, 2023||@Philadelphia||8:15 pm||AMZN||Lincoln Financial Field|
|3||Sep 24, 2023||vsL.A. Chargers||1:00 pm||FOX||U.S. Bank Stadium|
|4||Oct 1, 2023||@Carolina||1:00 pm||FOX||Bank of America Stadium|
|5||Oct 8, 2023||vsKansas City||4:25 pm||U.S. Bank Stadium|
|6||Oct 15, 2023||@Chicago||1:00 pm||FOX||Soldier Field|
|7||Oct 23, 2023||vsSan Francisco||8:15 pm||ESPN||U.S. Bank Stadium|
|8||Oct 29, 2023||@Green Bay||1:00 pm||FOX||Lambeau Field|
|9||Nov 5, 2023||@Atlanta||1:00 pm||FOX||Mercedes-Benz Stadium|
|10||Nov 12, 2023||vsNew Orleans||1:00 pm||FOX||U.S. Bank Stadium|
|11||Nov 19, 2023||@Denver||8:20 pm||NBC||Empower Field at Mile High|
|12||Nov 27, 2023||vsChicago||8:15 pm||ESPN||U.S. Bank Stadium|
|14||Dec 10, 2023||@Las Vegas||4:05 pm||FOX||Allegiant Stadium|
|15||Dec 17, 2023||@Cincinnati||TBA||—||Paycor Stadium|
|16||Dec 24, 2023||vsDetroit||1:00 pm||FOX||U.S. Bank Stadium|
|17||Dec 31, 2023||vsGreen Bay||8:20 pm||NBC||U.S. Bank Stadium|
|18||Jan 7, 2024||@Detroit||TBA||—||Ford Field|
Vikings 2023 player outlooks
By Dave Richard unless otherwise noted
QB Kirk Cousins
With a per-game average of 19.0 to 22.8 Fantasy points in each of his five seasons in Minnesota, Cousins is as close to a safe-floor quarterback you can find.
However, he may be able to reach his ceiling in 2023. It's his second year with head coach and playcaller Kevin O'Connell, who dialed up a career-high 643 pass attempts in 2022. It's his fourth year with all-world wideout Justin Jefferson and his first full season with both tight end T.J. Hockenson and rookie speedster Jordan Addison. If Cousins can maintain his throwing efficiency from last year with a better receiving corps, he should improve his stats, including his low 4.63 yards after catch per completion and 4.5% TD rate, both outside of the top 15 among qualified QBs.
Because he's not popular, he'll be a bargain on Draft Day as the 12th-to-15th QB off the board. That means he's an easy late-round pick in one-QB formats and a sensational top-30 pick in Superflex/two-QB formats.
RB Alexander Mattison
After Dalvin Cook was let go by the Vikings in early June, Mattison is now expected to be the lead running back for the Vikings.
The 25-year-old only has eight career games with 15-plus touches. In those games he's accrued at least 15 Fantasy points six times, with five of them coming in 2021. And in those five 2021 games he averaged 4.2 yards per carry, 5.0 targets, 4.4 receptions and 9.6 yards per catch. These are better examples of his efficiency than the games he sporadically played, as in 2022 when he had 10 or more touches just twice. But they also included plenty of negative rush plays, something he's had a high percentage of his entire career. Minnesota figures to also stick to a pass-heavy offense that could lower Mattison's touch numbers, but last year they leaned heavily on Cook to handle a large workload and comments by the coaching staff this offseason suggest they'll give Mattison the same treatment.
As a volume-dependent running back, Mattison will get taken between 35th and 50th overall in most drafts.
RB Ty Chandler
Chandler will vie for a spot on the Vikings RB depth chart this preseason. He barely played as a rookie but has talent as both a rusher and receiver and is especially patient behind the line of scrimmage. If put into action, Chandler would be unlikely to hog touches, which is why he's barely a blip on the Fantasy radar outside of the deepest of leagues. His value would rise if it's clear he's the definitive backup running back in Minnesota.
RB DeWayne McBride
It's rare when a seventh-round pick makes an impact in Fantasy Football, which is why McBride shouldn't be a priority pick for anybody. But it's worth noting that the UAB talent is a good fit for the Minnesota run scheme. McBride has great vision and good top-end speed, both of which helped him notch over 1,100 rush yards and at least 12 scores in back-to-back seasons. Expect McBride to work this preseason to find a spot on the RB depth chart, but it would be surprising if he advanced to regular playing time in 2023. There is mild long-term appeal, so taking McBride between 30th and 40th overall in rookie-only drafts isn't a horrible thought.
WR Justin Jefferson
Jefferson has proven to be an elite Fantasy wide receiver and will be drafted like one ... as in the No. 1 pick in your league.
If it's a PPR format, it's warranted: Last year Jefferson averaged 10.8 targets, 7.5 receptions, 106.4 yards and 21.7 PPR Fantasy points per game. The Vikings' addition of rookie Jordan Addison is designed to make their offense tougher for defenses to cover, but the Vikings figure to stay pass-heavy, meaning Jefferson's targets won't shrivel up. His per-game Fantasy totals have gone up year over year and could potentially continue to rise in his fourth season, making the 24-year-old one of the safest elite picks you could make.
No one would fault you if you took Jefferson over Ja'Marr Chase or Christian McCaffrey in a PPR league, but consider a running back over Jefferson if you're picking within the first three spots in half- or non-PPR.
WR Jordan Addison
By drafting Addison in Round 1, the Vikings boosted the explosiveness of their offense with an outstanding route-runner and separator out of USC.
It's much needed after Adam Thielen sort of slowed them down in 2022. Addison's past two years of football resulted in some grand numbers, including 98.7 yards and 1.0 touchdowns per game. That was as his team's top target -- imagine what he could be capable of in a pass-happy offense working opposite Justin Jefferson? Despite his smallish frame, Addison has 80-catch, 1,000-yard, seven-score potential this year and every year as long as he's working with Jefferson. That upside propels him to around 75th overall in PPR seasonal leagues and closer to 80th overall in non-PPR.
However, because his upside figures to be blocked by Jefferson's play, Addison could be the fourth wideout -- and potentially the seventh-to-10th player -- taken in rookie-only drafts.
WR K.J. Osborn
Osborn's strong 2022 gave some optimism for a 2023 breakout campaign, but once the Vikings drafted Jordan Addison, Osborn became an afterthought.
He should still play plenty as a No. 3 receiver in the Vikings' pass-happy offense, but Addison's arrival means Osborn is back in a fight for attention from Kirk Cousins. Last year was the first time Osborn saw over three catches per game, and it was his second straight with over 600 yards and at least five scores. Those feel like safe expectations for this season unless Justin Jefferson or Addison miss playing time. If that happens, Osborn would be worth rostering. Until then, he's worth chancing after 150th overall if your rosters are deep enough.
TE T.J. Hockenson
Hockenson averaged 13.0 PPR points per game in his 10 matchups as a member of the Vikings, but that number is propped up by a ludicrous 35.9 PPR point explosion against the Giants in Week 16.
He even blew up again versus the Giants in the playoffs to the tune of 22.9 PPR points. Without that regular-season game against New York, Hockenson averaged 7.8 targets and 10.4 PPR points per game. That's still not bad -- only seven TEs averaged more Fantasy points per game and only Travis Kelce had more targets per game. The addition of Jordan Addison to the offense will sting, but Hockenson should remain a key part of the Vikings' pass-happy system. Hockenson's target volume should push him into the 11-point-per-game range in PPR.
He's well worth a pick after 60th overall in PPR and 70th overall in non-PPR.
When the Vikings offense was more conservative in 2021, Joseph averaged 8.8 points per game and was a top-10 kicker. Last year, coach Kevin O'Connell kicked his offense into overdrive and it took field-goal chances away from Joseph, leaving him with a 7.8-point average and outside the top 12 kickers. Given that O'Connell's offense is even more explosive this year, Joseph may not come through for big numbers. His Week 1 matchup versus the Bucs could work out for him, but don't be surprised if he disappoints in the three or four games after. He's worthy of a final-round pick.
Minnesota's DST has finished below average in Fantasy points per game in each of the past three seasons. Given its lack of improvement in personnel, it will likely struggle again in 2023. New defensive coordinator Brian Flores shouldn't be overlooked as he's come up with some awesome game plans in the past, but outside of pass rusher Danielle Hunter, the Vikings don't have much to pressure quarterbacks with, and their secondary has some questions to answer. Even though they take on the Bucs in Week 1, the Vikings DST just isn't considered good enough with which to begin your Fantasy season.