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  • Buy, Sell, or Keep: Minnesota Vikings Offense

    Jersey Giveaway
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    The Minnesota Vikings are another team that has a new General Manager and Head Coach. Will the Vikings stay a run-first team or change to a west coast offense? Here are my Buy/Sell/Keep based on where I think this Vikings offense is going.


    Buy

    Irv Smith Jr., TE

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    Minnesota Vikings TE Irv Smith Jr. was a second-round selection in the 2019 NFL draft out of the University of Alabama. In his final year with the Crimson Tide, he had 44 receptions for 710 yards and 7 TDs. He was drafted as Kyle Rudolph‘s eventual replacement.

    Rudolph was solid yet unspectacular in his eight years prior to Smith being drafted. His best year was 2016 with 83 receptions for 840 and 7 TDs. Smith was drafted to take the Viking’s TE position to the next level.

    Smith will turn just 24 in August. As a rookie, he had 36 receptions for 311 yards, and 2 TDs, played all 16 games and started seven of them. In his second year, Smith played just 13 games and produced similar stats with 30 receptions for 365 yards and 5 TDs. In 2021, he was on injured reserve for the entire year with a knee injury.

    Tyler Conklin took advantage and delivered 61 receptions for 593 yards and 3 TDs. Those numbers got Conklin a nice little contract with the New York Jets.

    Why am I saying to buy Smith based on his career so far? There are 146 receptions from Vikings’ TEs over the last two years. He leads a group of six TEs going into this summer for the Vikings. Those players on the depth chart behind Smith include Johnny Mundt, Chris Herndon, Luke Stocker, Ben Ellefson, and Zach Davidson. Combined, those five TEs behind Smith had 7 receptions last year.

    Smith will be healthy and dominate snaps and everyone has forgotten him. Acquire him now and reap the rewards.

    Sell

    Dalvin Cook, RB

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    Dalvin Cook is going into his sixth year with the Minnesota Vikings as their star running back. The second-round pick in the 2017 NFL draft will turn 27 in August. Half of all NFL running backs begin to decline at age 27, and a majority of running backs decline at 28. It is always best to sell an asset one year too early than one year too late. Cook can still get a boatload of value on the market right now.

    Is Cook starting to decline right now? He has never played a full season as an NFL player. Cook has missed 25 games in his career. His four games missed last year were his most since 2018. He still had 249 carries for 1,159 yards in 2021. This was 4.7 yards per carry which were down from the 5.0 yards per carry in 2020.

    Cook only had 34 receptions in 2021, which was his lowest number since he was a rookie in which he only played four games. He also only produced six TDs off of those 283 touches in 2021.

    Cook has touched the football a total of 1,200 times in his five-year career to date. That is a lot of pounding he has endured in his 56 NFL games. Add in another 766 touches in his three years at Florida State, and you have a lot of reason to think he is starting to break down a bit.

    Sell him now so you can get a younger stud RB and maybe even a rookie pick or wide receiver thrown in. If you wait one more year, you might only get a mid to late rookie pick.

    Keep

    Justin Jefferson, WR

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    Justin Jefferson is the absolute picture of what a keep in fantasy football is. He was a first-round pick in the 2020 NFL draft. After posting 111 receptions for 1,540 yards and 18 TDs in his final year at LSU, he set an NFL rookie record of 1,400 receiving yards.

    In Jefferson’s record rookie year, he posted 88 receptions for 1,400 yards and 7 TDs. He caught nearly 50% of the wide receiver receptions as a rookie. For his second year in the league, he was even better. Jefferson had 108 receptions for 1,616 yards and 10 TDs. It’s not often you find the #4 scoring WR in your league on the #12 passing offense.

    Jefferson is special and should never be traded. There is no price large enough to justify trading him. If you were lucky enough to draft him in the middle of the 2020 rookie draft, don’t blow it by letting him go now. Quite a few people thought he couldn’t match his rookie year, let alone, beat it. Jefferson silenced all the masses with his sophomore performance. Another feather in his cap is that he has not missed a game yet in his two-year career. Do not let him out of your grasp.


    Thank you for checking out the latest article in the Buy/Sell/Keep series! You can read all of my articles on my IDP Guys author page. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @OldMan_FF and @IDPGuys (we have offense too) and please check out our website at idpguys.org.

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