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Minnesota Vikings Fantasy Football News | Shark Bites

Fantasy Football News 2022

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The Vikings are “excited” to see how 2nd-year WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette develops, per beat writer Chad Graff. Note that Minnesota didn't draft a WR until Round 6 last month (MSU's Jalen Nailor). According to Graff, Smith-Marsette is “part of the reason” new GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah opted against adding an impact rookie WR. As things stand now, ISM will battle Bisi Johnson for the Vikings’ WR4 job.

Vikings beat writer Chad Graff writes that RB Dalvin Cook might see more pass-game involvement in 2022. Cook “lined up in bunch wide receiver sets” at minicamp, though Graff admits it might just be some “tinkering” from a new staff. “I don’t want to just sit up here and tell y’all everything,” Cook said. “We’ve got Green Bay Week 1, so we’re gonna wait and see.” The veteran RB saw ~3.8 targets per game last season. Current projections have him at 41 catches (in 14 games).

Vikings beat writer Sam Ekstrom writes that TE Irv Smith “looked pretty agile” during minicamp drills. Ekstrom also observed Smith running at close to full speed. Last preseason, the 23-year-old sustained a meniscus injury that cost him all of 2021. If Smith can regain pre-injury form, he’ll carry a TE1 ceiling into a contract year.

The Vikings selected RB Ty Chandler in Round 5 of the NFL Draft. A 5th-year senior, Chandler transferred from Tennessee to North Carolina last year. “Ty Chandler came to Carolina with loads of potential and we thought he'd have a tremendous year," HC Mack Brown said. "That's exactly what he did. He grew into the offense with his combination of speed and quickness, and was extremely productive for us. Ty was also great in the locker room as an experienced presence and went on to be voted captain by his teammates.” Chandler does bring top-end, 4.38 speed — but he’s on the smallish side at 204 pounds. He also turns 24 prior to Week 1. He’ll likely start out as a practice squad guy with the Vikings likely to stick with Alexander Mattison and Kene Nwangwu behind Dalvin Cook.

The Vikings grabbed LB Brian Asamoah early in Round 3 of the NFL Draft. Asamoah is smallish at 6'0, 226 pounds, though that's closer to the norm by current NFL standards. He tested well leading up to the draft (74th percentile speed score) after solid college production. Asamoah is likely at least a year away from the opportunity for real playing time in Minnesota, though, with Eric Kendricks and free-agent addition Jordan Hicks in the way.

The Vikings selected CB Andrew Booth in the 2nd round of the NFL Draft. Booth might have slid in the draft for injury concerns, but his most recent issue was just a sports hernia. His college numbers don’t point to huge IDP upside in the NFL: 68 total tackles, 5 INTs and 9 passes defensed across 3 seasons. Booth goes to a Minnesota secondary that presents immediate opportunity to compete for a starting gig.

The Vikings spent the final pick of Round 1 on Georgia S Lewis Cine. NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah lauded Cine's physicality but called him inconsistent in coverage. Cine did get his hands on 9 passes in his final Bulldogs season but totaled just 2 INTs across his 3 campaigns. He could be in for immediate starting duty with Harrison Smith the only incumbent safety starter in Minnesota.

1:48pm EDT 4/19/22

Vikings HC Kevin O’Connell said TE Irv Smith is “right on schedule” in his recovery from an August meniscus tear. Smith, who called his 2021 injury a “freak” thing, added that the goal is to be 100% by training camp. Entering a contract-year, Smith will have a shot at a major role, especially with Tyler Conklin now in New York. Our early projections have him inside TE2 territory.

The Vikings are signing EDGE Za'Darius Smith to a 3-year, $42 million deal with a top value of $47 million, according to multiple reports. Smith nearly signed with the Ravens but backed off that and lands with a Minnesota defense that will position him opposite DE Danielle Hunter. It's not yet clear how the new Vikings staff will primarily align its front 7. That only matters for how the positional designations will settle out for IDP leagues. The contract -- and the fact that 2 teams were willing to pay him -- indicates that Smith should be ready to return from the back surgery that halted his 2021 campaign. He has a chance to be a nice value in pressure-friendly fantasy football leagues. Smith totaled 26 sacks over his past 2 healthy campaigns.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that EDGE Za'Darius Smith is not signing with the Ravens, despite previous reports that they'd agreed to terms. So he remains on the free-agent market after his release from the Packers.

The Ravens have agreed to a 4-year, $35 million deal with EDGE Za'Darius Smith, according to multiple reports. Smith played his 1st 4 seasons with Baltimore before leaving for Green Bay in free agency. Smith racked up 26 sacks over 2 years with the Packers before missing nearly all of last season with a back injury. He returns to a Baltimore defense that needs the pass-rush help. The money says the Ravens believe Smith will be all the way back, but we'll keep an eye on his status through the offseason.

LB Jordan Hicks is expected to sign a 2-year, $10 million deal with the Vikings, according to multiple reports. NFL insider Adam Caplan reports that it has a max value of $12 million and carries $6.5 million in guaranteed money. The Cardinals released Hicks this offseason, but the money from Minnesota points to him landing a starting gig next to Eric Kendricks. Expect LB Anthony Barr -- also a free agent -- to land elsewhere.

The Packers have released EDGE Za'Darius Smith. Rashan Gary and Preston Smith should remain Green Bay's primary edge duo after a season that saw Za'Darius Smith barely play because of a nagging back injury that eventually required surgery. Smith -- who will turn 30 in September -- should find plenty of suitors on the open market if he's back to full health, though.

QB Kirk Cousins is signing a 1-year extension with the Vikings. NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports that it's worth a fully guaranteed $35 million, locking him in through 2023. The deal also adds a no-trade clause. This move confirms that Cousins will at least remain Minnesota's starter through the 2022 season -- and likely through 2023 as well.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that the Cardinals are releasing LB Jordan Hicks. The 30-year-old was reportedly on the trade block last summer after Arizona drafted LB Zaven Collins in Round 1, but Hicks remained and spent the whole season as a full-timer. He finished among the top 20 fantasy LBs. Hicks' departure should clear the way for Collins to step in next to Isaiah Simmons -- assuming Collins is ready. His wildly disappointing debut campaign figures to keep Collins' price from climbing too high in 2022 IDP drafts. We'll see whether Hicks lands anywhere.

Former Rams OC and new Vikings HC Kevin O'Connell wants to use WR Justin Jefferson in a role similar to the one Cooper Kupp played last year. “The one thing about Cooper Kupp this past season is he lined up in a lot of different spots. It was hard for defenses to really know where he was," O'Connell said. "I see that with Justin. I see an incredible, incredible skillset, but I also see a player we can move around. We can make it hard for defenses to know where he’s going to be. He doesn’t have to line up in the same spot all the time. He doesn’t have to run the same type of routes all the time. He’s dynamic with the ball in his hands. He’s willing in the run game. This guy’s a special, special player." It's no surprise that O'Connell will make Jefferson the focal point of his passing game. But it's exciting to hear about a more diverse role -- especially considering the season Kupp just had.

There have been some rumors of potential for QB Kirk Cousins to be traded this offseason. It doesn't sound like new Vikings HC Kevin O'Connell is on board with that notion, though. "Kirk is our quarterback," O'Connell said Wednesday in Indianapolis at the NFL Scouting Combine. "I'm excited about that. I'm excited about building an offense for him." We wouldn't echo excitement for Cousins as a fantasy QB, but his production has outperformed his ADP for several years now. So we have no problem with Cousins as an early best-ball pick -- especially when stacked with WR Justin Jefferson or WR Adam Thielen.

The Vikings are expected to name Rams OC Kevin O'Connell their new HC, according to multiple reports. The move can't be made official until after the Super Bowl. The 36-year-old O'Connell was a 3rd-round pick of the Patriots back in 2008. He washed out of the league after just 5 seasons and took his first coaching job with the Browns in 2015 under OC John DeFilippo. O'Connell worked for HC Chip Kelly in San Francisco in 2016 before spending the next 3 seasons in Washington, earning the OC title in 2019. He's spent the past 2 seasons as Rams OC, although HC Sean McVay has called the plays.

The Vikings have fired HC Mike Zimmer and GM Rick Spielman, NFL Network reports. It ends an 8-year run for Zimmer and a 16-year run for Spielman in Minnesota. Zimmer's tenure brought just 3 seasons of double-digit wins and 2 playoff victories. We'll see who the Vikings hire to run the show going forward.

Vikings QB Kirk Cousins has been activated from the COVID list. He's expected to start Sunday's finale vs. the Bears, despite Minnesota having nothing to play for. Cousins isn't an exciting fantasy option, but his return is excellent news for WR Justin Jefferson and the rest of the Vikings' skill-position players.

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