Shark Bites

Vikings WR Justin Jefferson has been removed from the COVID list. The rookie remains the favorite to win the #2 WR job in Minnesota. We'll keep an eye on his development over the next month.

Vikings RB Dalvin Cook reported to training camp on Tuesday. This was the most likely scenario all along because the new CBA makes it very costly to hold out of training camp. Cook is still looking for a new contract, so we'll see if there are any further issues down the road. But for now, he's worth picking in the middle of the 1st round of fantasy drafts.

The Vikings have placed 4 players on the reserve/COVID-19 list, including rookie WR Justin Jefferson. Placement on the list means that a player has either tested positive or been in close contact with an infected person -- and thus faces mandatory quarantine. Teams are not allowed to disclose which category fits a player put on the list. Either way, this situation shouldn't affect Jefferson's availability for the season. We'll certainly keep an eye on the wideout, though, if it's revealed he contracted the virus.

Vikings RB Dalvin Cook told his position coach that he'll report for the start of training camp, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. Cook's agent has since denied that report. "Dalvin has never mentioned to him anything in regards to reporting to camp," Zac Hiller said. "I’m not sure where the miscommunication is. I hope Dalvin plays a major role in the Vikings future success.” Cook is looking for a new contract and started his holdout back in June. The new CBA makes it costly for players to sit out training camp, though. We'll have a better idea of Cook's intentions when Vikings camp officially opens on Tuesday.

Vikings RB Dalvin Cook will not take part in any team-related activities without a new contract, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. "He's out," a source told Schefter. "Without a reasonable extension, he will not be showing up for camp or beyond." Cook is set to make $1.3 million in 2020, the final year of his rookie deal. He reportedly wants to match or exceed the $13 million per year David Johnson is making. Johnson is currently the 4th-highest-paid RB in the NFL, behind Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliott and Le'Veon Bell. We're still more than 3 months from the start of the 2020 campaign, so Cook and the Vikings have plenty of time to come to an agreement. We're not adjusting Cook's baseline projections now -- but we did lower his floor projection on your MVP Board to account for the elevated risk. If Cook does end up sitting out games, Alexander Mattison would likely step in as Minnesota's lead back. RB Mike Boone would also figure to take on a bigger role.

The Vikings selected LSU WR Justin Jefferson with the 22nd overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft — the pick they acquired from the Bills for WR Stefon Diggs. No WR in this class had a more productive 2019. Jefferson’s 111 catches tied for most in the country, he ranked 3rd with 1,540 receiving yards and finished 2nd with 18 TDs. That, of course, came on an LSU offense that led the nation in passing yards and TDs. So Jefferson’s market shares — 26% of the receptions, 26% of the receiving yards and 30% of the TDs — are less impressive. We came away a bit underwhelmed by his tape. Jefferson did a bunch of damage vs. zone coverages but can struggle to separate from man. On the plus side, he’s excellent in tight quarters, leading all draft-eligible WRs with a 92.4% contested-catch rate in 2019, per Pro Football Focus. Jefferson has extensive experience at all WR spots, playing 81% of his snaps on the outside in 2018 and 78% in the slot last year. And he impressed at the Combine, running a 4.43-second 40-yard dash and earning an 82nd percentile SPARQ score at 6’1, 202 pounds. While we wonder how high Jefferson’s fantasy ceiling extends, he looks like 1 of the higher-floor WRs in this class. And he should immediately slide in as Minnesota’s #2 WR, making him a good bet for 2020 fantasy value.

The Vikings have agreed to a 2-year extension with QB Kirk Cousins. The contract alters Cousins' 2020 cap hit and adds 2 more years beyond that at $96 million total, according to Ian Rapoport. The new pact figures to keep Cousins leading the Minnesota offense at least through 2021. (We'll see about the final season on the new contract.) Cousins fell from QB11 to QB19 in total fantasy points in his 2nd Vikings season. But he actually tallied more fantasy points per pass attempt in 2019 (0.65 vs. 0.55).

The Associated Press reports that the Vikings will name Gary Kubiak their new OC. Kubiak spent 2019 on the Minnesota staff as an offensive adviser and assistant to HC Mike Zimmer. The move gives Minnesota continuity from the scheme that helped usher in RB Dalvin Cook's 2019 breakout while deploying 1 of the league's most run-heavy approaches. We'd expect plenty more running under an OC who has historically liked his RBs. QB Kirk Cousins, meanwhile, finished 2019 low in QB2 territory, reaching 2 TD passes in just 7 of 15 games. Expect him to remain in QB2 territory in our 2020 fantasy football rankings, and approach Cousins as a platoon option in the double-digit rounds of early best-ball drafting. He and Minnesota's WRs do, at least, present a nice week-to-week ceiling.

Vikings WR Adam Thielen (ankle) is active for today's Divisional Round game against the 49ers. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport said on Friday that the team wasn't sure how the stitches in Thielen's ankle will hold up. He obviously comes with elevated risk in fantasy lineups.

Vikings WR Adam Thielen (ankle) "should play" against the 49ers on Saturday, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. "What we don't know is how his cut, how these stitches he had in his foot are gonna end up holding up during the game," Rapoport adds.

Vikings WR Adam Thielen is listed as questionable for Saturday's game against the 49ers. He suffered a cut on his ankle that required stitches on Wednesday and then didn't practice on Thursday. There's been optimism about his availability for this playoff game, but Thielen will obviously come with elevated risk in fantasy lineups if active. We'll get his official status around 3 pm ET on Saturday.

Vikings WR Adam Thielen needed stitches for a "bad cut" on his ankle suffered during Wednesday's practice, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports. "The initial prognosis was encouraging for his chances of playing Saturday against the 49ers, but they’re still gathering information and will proceed with caution," Pelissero adds. We'll keep a close eye on this.

Vikings RB Dalvin Cook (shoulder) put in a full practice on Wednesday. It's confirmation that he'll be back -- likely in a workhorse role -- for this weekend's Wild Card game vs. the Saints.

Vikings RB Dalvin Cook (shoulder) said Wednesday that he'll be at "full strength" for this weekend's Wild Card game against the Saints. Cook missed the final 2 regular-season games after suffering his 2nd shoulder injury of the season and might be at risk of aggravating those injuries. But he'll also be riding fresher legs after the time off.

Vikings RBs Dalvin Cook (shoulder) and Alexander Mattison (ankle) are inactive for today’s game against the Bears. Mike Boone and Ameer Abdullah will again handle backfield duties, but neither is a strong fantasy play with Minnesota expected to rest key starters, including QB Kirk Cousins.

Vikings RB Dalvin Cook (shoulder) is out for Sunday’s game against the Bears. RB Alexander Mattison (ankle) is listed as questionable, but we’d be surprised if he played in this meaningless game. That'll again leave the backfield to Mike Boone and Ameer Abdullah.

ESPN's Courtney Cronin reports that the Vikings are "leaning heavily" toward resting the "bulk" of their starters in Sunday's game against the Bears. Minnesota is locked into the NFC's #6 seed. Cronin mentions QB Kirk Cousins as 1 starter who isn't expected to play. RB Dalvin Cook (shoulder) is almost certain to be inactive. And we'd bank on WRs Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen getting the day off, too. QB Sean Mannion will get the start for the Vikings, making this an offense to try to avoid in Week 17 fantasy lineups. The Bears DST is a strong play.

Vikings QB Kirk Cousins admitted on Thursday that he's not sure how much or even if he'll play against the Bears this weekend. Minnesota is locked in as the NFC's #6 seed after Monday night's loss to the Packers. Cousins and his WRs are shaky Week 17 fantasy plays that we'd try to avoid. We're not expecting RBs Dalvin Cook (shoulder) and Alexander Mattison (ankle) to play vs. Chicago.

Vikings MLB Eric Kendricks left in the 1st half on the Monday night game against the Packers with a quad injury. He's officially questionable to return, but Kendricks could be seen in a sweatshirt on the sideline in the 3rd quarter. He's probably not wearing that back into the game.

Vikings RB Alexander Mattison (ankle) is inactive for tonight's game against the Packers. With RB Dalvin Cook (shoulder) also out, Mike Boone will serve as Minnesota's lead back. He's a RB2 with upside.

 
 
 

Dominate Your Fantasy Football Draft

Turn your phone into a draft weapon with our FREE APP

Download on the App Store Download on Google Play