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Minnesota Vikings 2010 Fantasy Analysis

At the age of 40, Brett Favre was simply magnificent last year.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - In the ninth edition of a series, we head to the NFC North and the division winning Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings won the division in 2009 with a 12-4 record, finishing second in scoring (29.4 ppg) and 10th in defense (19.5 ppg).

Nowhere else in the league does one man hold the fantasy fortunate of so many others. Okay, maybe in Indianapolis, if something happened to Peyton Manning. Still, the fantasy fates of the entire offense, particularly the highly rated receivers, depend on Favre coming back for another season.

Quarterback

Brett Favre - At the age of 40, Favre was simply magnificent last year. Throwing for 4,202 yards and 33 touchdowns against just seven interceptions, Favre finished as one of the best bargains of the year after coming into 2009 with an ADP of 228 in early August (before he signed) and still No.97 at the start of the season. If he comes back this year, and with Favre that's always a drama-filled question, he'll be drafted much higher. Currently his ADP sits at 77 despite his not confirming the return. He'll end up in the 45-55 range by the start of the season - if he plays.

Tarvaris Jackson - Should Favre decide to retire, Jackson would inherit the Vikings offense and all those lethal offensive weapons. Three solid receivers, a superstar running back and a good offensive line could make Jackson a solid fantasy option if he were to start 16 games. For now, however, I'd restrict my drafting of him to a late-round "handcuff" with Favre.

Sage Rosenfels - Again, if Favre were to retire, Rosenfels might have some fantasy value. However, the Vikings will likely try to move Rosenfels if Favre returns for a second year in Minnesota.

Running Back

Adrian Peterson - He was the consensus No.1 fantasy pick in 2009 and though he put up solid numbers (1,383 yards rushing, 436 yards receiving, 18 TDs), he finished a distant second to Tennessee's Chris Johnson. "AP" ran the ball almost 50 less with Favre under center than in the previous season and that might be his workload again in 2010. He's being drafted No.2 behind Johnson, but he could easily be the No.1 running back in points next season.

Toby Gerhart - From 2007-2009 Chester Taylor got an ever-decreasing number of touches (186-to-146-to-138) as Peterson matured and also learned to be part of the passing offense. Now with Taylor in rival Chicago, the 100+ touches will likely fall on the shoulders of rookie Toby Gerhart. The team used the 51st overall pick on the Stanford running back, who rushed for 1,871 yards and 28 TDs in his senior season. For 2010, his fantasy value (ADP 163) is as insurance for "AP" owners. Neither Albert Young, Darius Reynaud nor Ian Johnson have any value at this time.

Wide Receiver

Sidney Rice - Barring an early announcement from Favre (and that will never happen because we all know he doesn't want, or need, to come in for an entire summer camp), drafting Rice as high as he deserves based on last year's effort would be a high-risk gamble. Just look at the numbers. In 2008 with Tarvaris Jackson and Gus Frerotte at quarterback, Rice grabbed just 15 balls for 141 yards and four scores. The next season, with Favre behind center, Rice was selected to the Pro Bowl after hauling in 83 receptions for 1,312 yards and eight touchdowns. That was good enough to be No.8 in wide receiver scoring and No.19 overall. Despite those statistics, his current ADP is 31, meaning fantasy owners aren't 100% sure that Favre will be back and are taking a conservative approach to Rice.

Bernard Berrian - Berrian played most, if not all, of 2009 with hamstring problems which limited his effectiveness. He still caught 55 balls for 618 yards and four scores, but that was down from 2008 when he averaged 20.1 ypc and had 964 yards and seven touchdowns. With the emergence of Rice, Percy Harvin and Visanthe Shiancoe, Berrian is now the team's third or fourth option. That is reflected in his current ADP of 155 down from No.83 last season. It's also a fair evaluation of what his 2010 production will be.

Percy Harvin - Harvin was an all-purpose back at the University of Florida and did the same things for Minnesota last season. He caught 60 balls for 790 yards and six touchdowns, ran 15 times for another 135 yards and returned 42 kickoffs for an average of 27.5 yards and two scores. He'll likely be just as busy this season, assuming that Favre is leading this prolific offense. Obviously in leagues which include return yardage, Harvin is extremely valuable. Overall, he is being selected in the fifth round (ADP 52) and around the 20th receiver off the board. Assuming Favre is back, he could still be undervalued.

Tight End

Visanthe Shiancoe - During Favre's entire career, he has always liked going to his tight end near the goal line (think Mark Chmura, Keith Jackson, Bubba Franks). That didn't change last year in Minnesota where Favre and Shiancoe hooked up for 11 touchdowns. As the 10th tight end off the board with an ADP of 106, he's a bargain, again, assuming that Favre returns. Without Favre all bets are off.

Kicker

Ryan Longwell - When you are kicking for an offense as prolific as Minnesota's you are always going to finish high in the scoring race. Longwell was 54-for-55 in extra points - the most of his career and the most in the NFL last season. He was also 26-for-28 on field goals including two from over 50 yards and finished third in fantasy scoring among kickers. He's currently the fourth kicker off the board with an ADP of 188.

Defense

The Vikings led the NFL in sacks with 48 and that type of production will likely continue in 2010. Unfortunately, their low total of 24 turnovers (13 fumbles, 11 interceptions) wasn't enough to keep them on top of the defensive scoring lists. They ended up seventh overall with 116 fantasy points. They are one of the "glamour" defenses and if you want them, you will likely have to overpay as they are currently going second (ADP 118) behind only the New York Jets.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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