The Minnesota Vikings fell one game short of reaching the Super Bowl in 2017. The team’s 13 regular-season wins were the most by the franchise since 1998. Over the last three years the Vikings have now gone 32-16 under head coach Mike Zimmer.
Zimmer’s impact has been undeniable. The defense ranked dead last in the NFL in 2013, but in the four seasons since they’ve finished no worse than 11th in scoring and in 2017 Minnesota was the top unit in the league (15.8 ppg).
On offense there will be a new play-caller as John DeFilippo, who just earned a Super Bowl ring as the Eagles’ quarterback coach, is set to take over as coordinator. He replaces Pat Schurmur, who accepted the Giants’ offer to be head coach.
The Vikings overcame several key injuries on offense last season, including starting quarterback Sam Bradford and running back Dalvin Cook. Cook should be back at 100 percent and is expected to take over as the workhorse. The team has some decisions to make at quarterback, where Bradford, Case Keenum, and Teddy Bridgewater are all unrestricted free agents.
Three additions we want to see for fantasy
Kirk Cousins, QB: The decision at quarterback doesn’t have to be limited to three incumbents. Cousins might not be Aaron Rodgers, but it is unprecedented to see a quarterback in his prime and healthy with Cousins’ track record of production hit the free agent market. With many suitors expected and considering the deal Jimmy Garoppolo got from the 49ers, his price tag will be high. Minnesota would be his most immediate chance at a ring and for the Vikings Cousins is the player that could finally push them over top.
Paul Richardson, WR: Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs are strong starting options, yet Minnesota lacks depth at the position. Laquon Treadwell is just 23, but so far the 23rd overall pick in the 2016 draft looks like a bust. Richardson has battled injuries through his three seasons in Seattle, but has shown flashes and would be a nice, affordable addition. He pulled in all eight of his catchable deep-ball targets for 300 deep yards in 2017, ranking him 18th among wide receivers with at least four deep-ball targets.
Early-round guard: Minnesota traded away their fourth- and seventh-round draft picks, so they need to be efficient with their selections. They need to address the team’s opening at guard with both of 2017 starters eligible for free agency. If Notre Dame’s Quenton Nelson slips to them at No. 30, it would be a home run. Beefing up in the middle will only help pad the value of Cook, who was poised to be a top-10 running back before getting hurt as a rookie and is a consensus RB1 in PFF’s 2018 rankings. The Vikings finished seventh in rushing yards and touchdowns, but could still stand to improve with offensive line upgrades.