Cue Jon Bon Jovi.
“Whoa, we’re halfway there … “
Yes, the Vikings are more than “Livin’ on a Prayer” with their 6-2 record at the halfway point of the NFL season – as are most of their regular (and healthy) contributors to your fantasy football lineups.
And let’s be honest: That’s what we care more about, right?
With no Vikings game to advance this week, let’s look back at the season that has been and hand out midseason Vikings fantasy football awards.
Most Valuable Player
WR Adam Thielen
No. 2 in receiving yards (627). No. 4 in receptions (48).
No, that isn’t his ranking among Vikings receivers; it’s for the NFL.
The touchdown catches are lacking – he has just one – but when FantasyPros projects you as the No. 42 WR entering the season and you make that kind of statistical leap, it’s easier to forgive one shortcoming.
Still, he’s been the No. 14 best WR in standard scoring and No. 5 in PP, according to FantasyPros.
For the record, in the preseason FantasyPros slotted Thielen behind the likes of:
- No. 41 John Brown, Arizona (13 receptions for 174 yards and two TDs in five games)
- No. 39 Corey Coleman, Cleveland (six receptions for 62 yards and a TD in two games; he’s out with a broken hand)
- No. 37 Tyrell Williams, Los Angeles Chargers (22 receptions for 322 yards and one TD in eight games)
- No. 34 Eric Decker, Tennessee (23 receptions for 226 yards and zero TDs in seven games)
- No. 29 DeVante Parker, Miami (19 receptions for 236 yards and one TD in four games)
Runner-up: RB Jerick McKinnon (see more below)
Least Valuable Player
RB Latavius Murray
Personal bias may be in play.
Having spent $21 of my $50 free-agent budget in one league on Murray after Dalvin Cook’s ACL tear, I was expecting big things. I know I wasn’t alone.
And what did he do in his big debut?
He had less than 50 all-purpose yards on 14 touches in a 20-17 win over the Bears.
A victory for the Vikings and a huge loss for Murray’s owners as Jerick McKinnon – 22 offensive touches for 146 yards and a TD – stole the spotlight and hasn’t looked back, relegating Murray to backup duty.
The only reason Murray is on your roster is if it’s a 14-plus-team league.
Runner-up: Vikings DST; the No. 5 defense off the board is performing as the 16th best – according to FantasyPros.
Most Disappointing Player
QB Sam Bradford
Remember Sept. 11: 27-for-32 for 346 yards and three touchdowns.
Outdueling Drew Brees (27-for-37 for 291 yards and a touchdown).
And then the injury bug bit, again. Hard.
He came back, clearly too soon as Star Tribune columnist Chip Scoggins opined, for the Oct. 9 game at Chicago when he lasted not even a full half, going 5-for-11 for 36 yards while taking four sacks.
If his left knee was still healthy, we could be talking about a legit fantasy football QB. With all of the weapons at this offense’s disposal plus an improved offensive line, there was a lot to like about Bradford’s prospects.
Runner-up: WR Stefon Diggs; like Bradford, just a health issue.
Most Surprising Player
RB Jerick McKinnon
The Vikings tried to go down this road with McKinnon as a lead back in 2014 and 2016 when Adrian Peterson wasn’t available (suspension and injury, respectively).
Yes Matt Asiata was there both times.
But did they really WANT to give him the gig?
They gave it to Asiata because McKinnon didn’t look ready for a big workload – whether because of size (5-9, 205 pounds) or the transition to the NFL and to the running back position – he played quarterback at Georgia Southern, albeit in a triple-option offense.
With touchdowns in three of four games since Dalvin Cook’s injury, including goal-line work, and the ability to contribute in the pass game, McKinnon looks ready now.
Good for you if you went after him instead of Murray when you had the chance.
Runner-up: RB Dalvin Cook; projected by ESPN as the 19th best RB, he was on a trajectory to become one of the game’s best before tearing his ACL.
Most Meh Player
QB Case Keenum
If you’re rostering Keenum, your season is likely in trouble or it’s a deeper league.
He’s played roughly 13 halves this season and is averaging about 248 yards and one touchdown pass per game.
The fantasy upside is VERY limited. But he is getting the job done in real life, with the Star Tribune’s Michael Rand noting Keenum is having the best season by a Vikings quarterback since Brett Favre in 2009.
But that’s reality, not fantasy.
A line must be drawn.
Runner-up: TE Kyle Rudolph; he’s been the ninth best at his position in PPR and standard scoring, according to FantasyPros and was drafted as eighth best at TE.
Want to talk more fantasy football? E-mail Mike at email@example.com or heckle him on Twitter @mike_e_nelson.