Minnesota Vikings
2019 is the year of Dalvin Cook, just wait. Let’s check out the rest of the Minnesota Vikings as they open up training camp (AP/Jim Mone)

The Minnesota Vikings are stuck with Kirk Cousins. What else is there to say? If Kirk Cousins underwhelms again, they are screwed. If Cousins can improve and play like a franchise quarterback, well then now we’re actually cooking with peanut oil. Gary Kubiak should theoretically help that cause. So should having a full year of Kevin Stefanski as the offensive coordinator. Let’s take a dive into the Minnesota Vikings as they get ready to open training camp.

3 Position Battles To Watch:

Slot Receiver: Chad Beebe, Olabisi Johnson, Jeff Badet, Dillion Mitchell, Laquon Treadwell

We all know how good Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen are. Minnesota needs a reliable third option in the worst way. Defenses are begging them to find one and they still can’t do it. The coaching staff has spoken highly about Chad Beebe to the point where he is starting to emerge as a legit option. At least in my head anyway. I think it’s safe to give up on Laquon Treadwell. That guy is never going to figure it out.

Tight End: Kyle Rudolph, Irv Smith, David Morgan, Tyler Conklin

Talk about awkward. Kyle Rudolph went from being replaced to getting handed a new contract extension. Where does that leave Irv Smith? Is there room for both? Tyler Conklin actually had his moments as a passcatcher. What about him? If you have been reading my posts, then I’m sure you know about my love for Irv Smith. Just wait, he’s going to be a monster.

Defensive Tackle: Shemar Stephen, Jalyn Holmes, Jaleel Johnson, Armon Watts

Linval Joseph is a house. Every nice house needs some landscaping to prop it up. Sheldon Richardson is gone so the Vikings need to find a replacement. Shemar Stephen is probably best described as average? Jalyn Holmes had his moments as a rookie but I’m not sure anyone knows what he is yet. Armon Watts was productive at Arkansas but had an awful combine that made him slide down boards. Nobody is Sheldon Richardson but can they recreate him in the aggregate?

Ready To Breakout: Mackensie Alexander

After his rookie year, I was convinced Mackensie Alexander belonged in the Canadian League. Mike Zimmer refused to play him because of how bad he was. In 2018, the Clemson product finally started to put it together. He even had 4 sacks somehow as a corner? Alexander was arguably (Probably) better than Xavier Rhodes in 2018. I think Alexander takes another leap and proves worthy of his former 2nd rounds status.

Rookie To Watch: Cameron Smith

I could never tell if Cameron Smith was a good football player at USC. Athletically limited and disappeared a lot. Then there were games where he made virtually every tackle. There is an open linebacker spot up for grabs. Does Ben Gedeon really blow your pants off? How about Kentrell Brothers? Smith could find his way into a starting job.

Fantasy Sleeper: Dalvin Cook

2019 is the year of Dalvin Cook. I’m willing to bet almost anything on it. This is the 2nd year off his Torn ACL from his rookie year. Cook is going to rush for 1,500 yards. Put it on the board…. YES. Cook is just special. He makes defenders miss at a rare level. The talent is crazy. We’re about to see it this year. There are not 10 running backs in the league more talented than Dalvin Cook.