Era-adjusted fantasy football player rankings: Fran Tarkenton, Cris Carter headline the Minnesota Vikings

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the creation of fantasy football, The Athletic is reviewing the best fantasy players and fantasy seasons in NFL history.

A detailed overview of the system used to grade historical fantasy performance can be found in our greatest fantasy players of all-time introduction page, but here’s a quick summary.

Fantasy player performance is era-adjusted so that players who dominated during lower scoring eras can compete versus players who racked up huge point totals in higher scoring eras.

After these adjustments are made, players are then given credit for having a starter-caliber season (one point), a quality season (one point), an impact campaign (1.5 points) or being an elite starter (two points). These points stack and are measured in both non-PPR and PPR and serve as the basis for determining who are the best fantasy players in NFL history.

Now that we have the preliminaries out of the way, let’s look at the best fantasy players in Minnesota Vikings team history!

(Note: the numbers listed below are for the player’s performance while on the Vikings.)

All-time fantasy starting lineup

QB: Frank Tarkenton

RB: Adrian Peterson

RB: Chuck Foreman

WR: Chris Carter

WR: Randy Moss

TE: Steve Jordan

SuperFLEX: Daunte Culpepper


Quarterback—Fran Tarkenton

starter Quality Impact Elite PPR Str PPR Qual PPR Impact PPR Elite Career Points
eleven eleven 6 4 eleven eleven 6 4 64

Tarkenton is arguably the greatest fantasy player of all-time, as his 64 career points are easily the highest in Vikings history and nearly double Cris Carter’s 37-point second place finish in this category. What makes Sir Francis’ Minnesota performance even more incredible is that Tarkenton was a Top 6 fantasy QB in four of his first five seasons with the Vikings, had a dominant five-year stretch with the Giants after he was traded to New York in 1967 ( he ranks as that club’s best fantasy quarterback), then racked up five consecutive Top 5 fantasy QB seasons after returning to Minnesota in 1972.

To play at that level that late in a career was unheard of back in those days and it helped give Tarkenton 104 overall career points, making him the only player to post a triple-digit total in that category.

Running Back—Adrian Peterson

starter Quality Impact Elite PPR Str PPR Qual PPR Impact PPR Elite Career Points
8 7 1.5 two 8 5 1.5 0 33

Peterson may have been the best fantasy RB in non-PPR scoring since 2007-10, as he ranked anywhere from second to fourth in that scoring format in each of those campaigns. Add in a No. 1 ranking in RB scoring in both non-PPR and PPR in 2012 and ranking second in both categories in 2015 and it led to Peterson earning one of the fantasy RB roster spots.

Running Back—Chuck Foreman

starter Quality Impact Elite PPR Str PPR Qual PPR Impact PPR Elite Career Points
6 4 4.5 two 6 4 4.5 two 33

Keep in mind that the NFL was a running back-centric league when noting that Foreman ranked second among RBs in both non-PPR and PPR scoring in 1974 and 1975 and led that position in scoring in both categories in 1976. Randy Moss and Daunte Culpepper are the only players to score more than Foreman’s 369.1 PPR points in 1975, and Foreman did it in a 14-game season, which may make that the most impressive single season in fantasy scoring in Vikings history.

Wide receiver—Cris Carter

starter Quality Impact Elite PPR Str PPR Qual PPR Impact PPR Elite Career Points
10 7 1.5 0 eleven 6 1.5 0 37

Chris Berman and Tom Jackson frequently had fun with Buddy Ryan’s saying that all Carter did was catch touchdowns but, from a fantasy perspective, all Carter did for a long time is rack up mid- to upper-tier WR1 seasons. Carter carved eight straight WR1-caliber campaigns in both PPR and non-PPR scoring from 1993-2000 and his 361.1 PPR points in 1995 still ranks second all-time among all Vikings players.

Wide receiver—Randy Moss

starter Quality Impact Elite PPR Str PPR Qual PPR Impact PPR Elite Career Points
7 5 3 two 7 5 1.5 two 32.5

Moss had a phenomenal beginning to his career, as he posted Top 5 finishes in non-PPR scoring and Top 6 finishes in PPR scoring in each of his first six seasons in Minnesota. He made posting 300+ PPR points seem like a common occurrence, as he ran off three straight seasons at that scoring level from 1998-2000 and then set a new standard for PPR scoring with 376 points in 2003. That is still the highest PPR total ever posted by a Vikings player.

Tight end—Steve Jordan

starter Quality Impact Elite PPR Str PPR Qual PPR Impact PPR Elite Career Points
9 3 1.5 0 8 3 0 0 24.5

The man who made Brown University famous among NFL Primetime viewers was a supremely consistent fantasy point scorer, as he racked up seven straight seasons as a Top 8 TE. His nine starter-caliber seasons in non-PPR scoring rank tied for sixth all-time at that position.

SuperFlex — Daunte Culpepper

starter Quality Impact Elite PPR Str PPR Qual PPR Impact PPR Elite Career Points
5 4 3 4 5 4 3 4 32

Prior to Josh Allen doing so in 2020-21, Culpepper was the last quarterback to post consecutive seasons as the No. 1 fantasy QB, something he achieved in 2003-04. Culpepper also had two campaigns as the second-highest scoring fantasy QB (2000 and 2002). He only had one other season as a starter outside of that stretch, as a severe knee injury in 2005 ended Culpepper’s days as a viable fantasy prospect, but four years at or near the top of the league landed him the SuperFlex spot on the Vikings’ all-time fantasy roster.


All-time best era-adjusted fantasy seasons

QB: Fran Tarkenton, 1975 (216 points)

RB: Chuck Foreman, 1975 (296 non-PPR, 369.1 PPR)

WR: Randy Moss, 2003 (265 non-PPRs, 376 PPRS)

TE: Joe Senser, 1981 (146 non-PPR, 224.6 PPR)

SuperFLEX: Adrian Peterson, 2012 (307 non-PPR, 347.4 PPR)

(Top photo: Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

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