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Lunch Break, 8/25: Teddy, Rudy among Fantasy Sleepers

NFL Media Columnist Adam Rank laid out a case for second-year pro Teddy Bridgewater to be selected before 18-year veteran, 14-time Pro Bowler and seven-time first-team All-Pro Peyton Manning in upcoming fantasy drafts.

Rank wrote:

[Manning] is not going to be very good for you in fantasy football this season. In my latest fantasy rankings, I have moved Teddy Bridgewater ahead of him (spots 11-12 to round out the QB1 tier).

Let me point this out, too. I'm not saying Bridgewater is going to be a better draft value. Or that I'd rather have him in Round 12, instead of Manning in Round 4. I hate that (expletive). I'm going to make a stand. Straight up. Teddy Bridgewater will have more fantasy points than Peyton Manning this year. No bull (expletive) qualifiers or anything.

Rank cited Weeks 13-17 of the 2014 regular season when Bridgewater outscored Manning in fantasy points to finish his impressive rookie campaign. Rank also listed Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph in his list of 11 "sleeper" picks, saying:

Tight ends have traditionally thrived under Norv Turner, so you have to like the upside for Rudolph. I'm not saying you pass on [Rob Gronkowski] or [Jimmy] Graham because you want to snag him later. But if you've landed in the position where you have to gamble on a tight end, I take his upside.

Click here for the full list.

Manning the Mike?

Mike Zimmer said Monday the Vikings are getting closer to a plan for middle linebacker duties, but declined to state it during his media session because he hadn't told the team. Audie Cole started the first two preseason games, Eric Kendricks started against Oakland and Gerald Hodges has taken some reps with the first team. Michael Mauti also has played the position as a reserve and had a sack on a blitz against the Raiders.

Reporters took note of action at the position during Monday's afternoon practice;

ESPN.com's Ben Goessling noted: The team rotated Eric Kendricks, Gerald Hodges and Audie Cole through its first-team defense again in practice on Monday, but coach Mike Zimmer said he knows who will start against Dallas, in what figures to be a dress rehearsal for the regular season.

"If it goes good this week, then maybe we will go with it the rest of the way," Zimmer said. "If guys are playing good, they'll keep playing and if they're not — I just haven't told the players yet, so I don't want to tell you."

Added Mark Craig of the Star Tribune:

*Later Monday, the Vikings had an abbreviated practice in full pads. Kendricks, who started in the base 4-3 defense ahead of Audie Cole for the first time in Saturday's 20-12 preseason victory over Oakland, still was with the first-team defense and sharing reps with Chad Greenway in the nickel sub package. Cole was with the second unit. *

"I think he did good [Saturday night]," Zimmer said of Kendricks, who had one tackle in the game.

But that doesn't necessarily mean Kendricks will start on Saturday at Dallas. The Vikings will spend another week working different combinations at linebacker and might even give Gerald Hodges a look with the first unit. Cole started the first two preseason games.

From Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press:

*Kendricks got 20 snaps in Saturday's start. *

"He fitted one thing wrong and then they got basically the same play again later and he got it right after we corrected him on the sideline, but for the most part he did all right," Zimmer said.

On Sunday, Zimmer watched preseason tape of the middle line backers with general manager Rick Spielman, defensive coordinator George Edwards and linebackers coach Adam Zimmer. The Vikings have two exhibition games remaining, but many starters will be held out of the finale, Sept. 3 at Tennessee.

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