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Projecting Vikings skill-position depth chart and fantasy impact

NFL: Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

After a second-straight losing season, the Vikings hit the refresh button on their leadership, firing head coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Speilman after long tenures with the team. After a lengthy search, the Vikings hired Kevin O’Connell and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, a move toward a more analytical approach. But while the Vikings made major changes at the top, the roster remains in a fairly similar state, with Kirk Cousins signing a multiyear extension to remain the starting quarterback.

At least on paper, the Vikings don’t appear capable of competing for a title in 2022. Still, most of their moves point to trying to make a run anyway. In addition to Cousins returning, the team restructured Adam Thielen’s deal to keep him in the fold and opted to retain Eric Kendricks and Harrison Smith. Minnesota also added Za’Darius Smith and Jordan Hicks to reinforce the defense.

Quarterback

  1. Kirk Cousins
  2. Sean Mannion

Running back

  1. Dalvin Cook
  2. Mattison Alexander
  3. Kene Nwangwu
  4. Ty Chandler

Wide receiver

  1. Justin Jefferson
  2. Adam Thielen
  3. K.J. Osborn
  4. Bisi Johnson

Tight end

  1. Irv Smith Jr.
  2. Johnny Mundt
  3. Nick Muse

Biggest offseason changes

The Vikings didn’t add much in the way of skill-position players with Thielen’s retention serving as their biggest move. Losing tight end Tyler Conklin matters, however. A former Day 3 pick, Conklin had developed into an above-average pass catcher, setting career highs in receptions (61), yards (593), and touchdowns (three) in 2021. With Conklin gone, former second-rounder Irv Smith Jr. move into a featured role.

Biggest questions for fantasy football

How will the offense change under O’Connell? The Vikings used a similar system the past few seasons, but the new staff might shift the play-calling to favor the passing game at the expense of Dalvin Cook. Cook should remain a major part of the offense, but his production could suffer under the new regime.