Fantasy football: Three sleepers on the Vikings

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The Vikings have some players this year who are flying under the radar among other fanbases. That can benefit fantasy football players when their drafts come around.

This is a list of sleepers on Minnesota. Many of these players are probably for leagues with a lot of different teams in them, but maybe they can provide value in other contexts.

Here is the list:

TE Chris Herndon

Sep 20, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Jets tight end Chris Herndon (89) gains yards after catch against the San Francisco 49ers at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings didn't get the best value when they traded a fourth-round pick in exchange for Herndon and a sixth-round pick. However, there is a reason the team had to do that: Irv Smith Jr.'s injury leaves a huge hole to fill. Will Herndon be the player that Smith is? Probably not. But he can still contribute and possibly be a red zone target for the Vikings in 2021.

WR Dede Westbrook

Oct 27, 2019; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Dede Westbrook (12) enters the field prior to the game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the New York Jets at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

The idea of a handcuff in fantasy football is well known. For instance, people will draft a backup running back, like Alexander Mattison, in case the starter on that team, like Dalvin Cook, misses any games. Let's apply that idea to wide receivers here. Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen have both been banged up this offseason. If either of those two miss any action in 2021, Westbrook could be looking at a lot of targets. To make matters more interesting, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said the team will probably utilize three wideouts in the passing game more now that Irv Smith Jr. is injured. Westbrook may be an under-the-radar find in the back half of drafts.

The Vikings defense

Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer talks with defensive end Danielle Hunter (99) before an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)

The idea that the Vikings defense could improve in 2021 is popular among the Minnesota fan base. The team added players like Dalvin Tomlinson, Patrick Peterson and Sheldon Richardson. Minnesota also gets Danielle Hunter and Michael Pierce in 2021. On paper, the Vikings will have a way more talented defense. They also have a defensive-minded coach. Despite that, ESPN currently ranks the Vikings defense/special teams as the 17th best unit for both PPR and non-PPR. If you think the Minnesota defense will be better than that. you may get good value.

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