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2017 IDP Projection Marking: Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings fell just short in 2017, but defensively, it was an extremely strong season.

Hi everyone and welcome to the fantasy off-season. It was a wild ride in 2017 and I’m still recovering, but there’s no real off-season in the dynasty world. In the summer I made projections for every IDP in the league I thought would be relevant. You can go back and read all of the 2017 IDP Projections here.

I was right in some places. I was wrong in some places. But either way, it’s important to be accountable and honest so I can figure out why and make adjustments in the future. I’ll be going through every team and noting where I was right and where I was wrong. To do that I’ll show what my projections were, how players actually performed, and how big the discrepancies were.

Poor Vikings fans. I really feel for them after yet another season of close-but-not-quite. Ultimately they failed to make it to the big game on home turf, but it was still a good year and this regime has stability and promise. Mike Zimmer is going to keep creating top defensive units.

Defensive Tackle

We’re off to a great start here as Linval Joseph came in extremely close to predicted levels. He managed 39 solos (three over the prediction), 28 assists (three over again) and four sacks (one under). He was a force of nature for much of the season so I’m encouraged about being so accurate on a high-end projection.

Tom Johnson was the next man in line and also came in close. He finished seven short of the solo tackle projection but was just one out on every other stat.

Defensive End

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Virtually the whole IDP community was united in excitement for Danielle Hunter before the season began. Then we were united in disappointment in him. I was also pessimistic about Everson Griffen and thought he could be heading for a relatively down year. In the end, the mistake was simply the pecking order.

Griffen was the superior player and put up numbers to prove it. Hunter remained a complimentary piece in NFL terms as well as on the stat sheet. Griffen managed to record 13 sacks (against a projection of just six) whilst Hunter managed seven sacks (against a projection of 12). The same relationship held true for solo tackles. We IDP analysts just picked the wrong man. Regardless, I was wrong on both players and will adjust accordingly in the future.

Brian Robison, however, was predicted uncannily accurately and very close in all stats. Like the 2017 Vikings as a whole, this position goes down as a case of what could have been.


After the disappointment at DE, this is another good unit. I had Eric Kendricks down for 66 solos and he managed 67. Anthony Barr recorded 52 against a target of 49. Kendricks did manage to put up 15 more assists than projected but managed three fewer sacks and two fewer PDs. Barr, on the other hand, was bang on with assists, just one sack shirt and three PDs over.

Interestingly my numbers had Emmanuel Lamur and Kentrell Brothers down for 45 and 50 solos each as well. Quite frankly, those look like data gremlins that got through the net somehow. The model will be adjusted going forwards as those numbers just aren’t realistic for backup players.


There was another gremlin here with just three corners making it into the model. 2018 will be bigger, more accurate and better and will feature the top six corners I expect to play for every team.

Fortunately, two of the ones covered were very accurate with Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes especially close in solos, PDs, and INTs. Rhodes managed nine more assists than predicted and Waynes nine more solos but these numbers are very good.


Harrison Smith was the best safety in the NFL this season even if he didn’t get a Pro Bowl nod. He was also satisfyingly close to benchmarks here in solos (five under), and sacks (bang on with two). He was however extremely impressive in putting up seven more PDs than expected and three more interceptions. Smith excelled in all parts of the job.

Andrew Sendejo also surprised me with more PDs than expected but was even closer in solos (two out), assists (five out) and interceptions (one out).

In summary

Aside from having Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen switched around, I’m extremely proud of this team. The other major players were all very close in at least two or three stat categories each. Mike Zimmer is a good coach for projecting. He’s not exotic, he doesn’t rely on blitzes or crazy schemes – he just coaches every player hard in terms of fundamentals and decisions and drills them into a tough, smart, instinctive unit. His defenses are great because of the lack of errors they make – not the big plays.

The NFC championship game was less than 24 hours ago as I write this so it’s early for looking at the off-season but it seems likely the team will keep most major defensive pieces in place and should have a chance to build on their success in 2017. Given the core pieces are players the caliber of Linval Joseph, Eric Kendricks, Danielle Hunter, Everson Griffen, Anthony Barr, Xavier Rhodes and Harrison Smith, this is going to be a scary defense for the foreseeable future.

Thanks for reading.


2017 IDP Projection Marking: Minnesota Vikings
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Peter Smith
5 years ago

Thanks Tom – it’s sounds like from your assessment that you think Griffin / Hunter pecking order will remain the same next year as well then? I’m still excited to see Danielle break out as I think he was creating a lot of QB pressure this year, but I am more pessimistic about him being an elite edge long term than I was

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