Fantasy Football 2015: Previewing the Minnesota Vikings

5 of 5

Jerick McKinnon, RB

Nov 16, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Jerick McKinnon (31) reacts to a play against the Chicago Bears during the first half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

In 2014 the absence of Adrian Peterson was the biggest storyline for the Minnesota Vikings and arguably for the NFL as a whole.  In his stead, 2014 third-round draft pick Jerick McKinnon got an opportunity to show how his supreme athleticism translates at the NFL level and by in large he did not disappoint.

After AP was out of the picture for 2014, the Vikings initially went with the 1-2 punch of Asiata and McKinnon with the latter as the change-of-pace back.  In their Week 4 victory over Atlanta, McKinnon paced the Vikings rushing attack with 18 carries for 135 yards (7.5 YPC).  Unfortunately for his fantasy owners, McKinnon didn’t see the end zone that day thanks to Asiata’s three-TD vulture job.

Nov 16, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Jerick McKinnon (31) in their game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

And that’s how the season seemed to go for McKinnon.  He got his first crack at NFL RB duties, even starting in six games, and while he needs work he largely impressed.  With AP back I expect McKinnon to be the main backup/change-of-pace RB in 2015 with Asiata the goal line bruiser.  If something goes wrong with AP, I would expect the Vikings at this point to anoint McKinnon the full-time starter instead of Asiata.

As far as McKinnon’s fantasy viability, he certainly has value as a handcuff for AP if you’re the lucky owner to get him.  Beyond that it’s hard to say McKinnon will hold much value due to AP’s workhorse nature, but there is the uncertainty with AP that I alluded to earlier due to his one-year hiatus.  With AP healthy and dominant, McKinnon is a RB4/RB5.

Matt Asiata

One of the waiver-wire all-stars from 2014 was Matt Asiata, thanks of course to the AP situation.  Frequently referred to as a plodder, Asiata did most of his damage on the goal-line with a straight-ahead attack while the shifty McKinnon moved the chains between the 20s.

That will be Asiata’s game again this year, but he stands to lose some goal line love with AP back this year.  Also if (IF) Kyle Rudolph can stay healthy, that’s another red zone target for the Vikes that may sap Asiata’s value.  Barring injury or something else that removes AP from the picture again, Asiata likely will only yield a handful of TDs on the year off of goal line touches.  That’s not a guy you want on your roster week-in and week-out.

That’s it for the Bear Goggles On fantasy football preview of the Minnesota Vikings.  Next, I’ll take a look at the Green Bay Packers, so stay tuned for that.  In the mean time, BEAR DOWN.

Next: 2015 Fantasy Football QB Ratings

More from Bear Goggles On