Vikings offense gets facelift: There was certainly reason for excitement when Norv Turner signed on to be the Vikings’ offensive coordinator. Unsurprisingly, the veteran play-caller is going to put his best playmakers to work. First, Turner says the team plans to use Adrian Peterson as more of a weapon in the passing game. Apart from helping Peterson get more touches, the move will hopefully reduce some of the wear-and-tear from the high number of carries A.D. normally gets. But Peterson won’t be alone in helping the passing game succeed. According to Greg Jennings, the team plans to “showcase” second-year wideout Cordarrelle Patterson. That’s to be expected after Turner immediately began drawing up plays for “Flash.” That, ladies and gentlemen, will be the focal point of the Vikings offense in 2014. Kyle Rudolph will have some value as a low-end TE1 — most tight ends find success under Turner — but Peterson and Patterson will be the Purple People with the most panache this season.
Newton to have more control: Entering his fourth season in the NFL, the Carolina Panthers have decided to cede more control of the offense to Cam Newton. After the release of Steve Smith, Newton has become the face of the franchise so the move makes sense. The question is whether this move can help the dynamic quarterback revive numbers that have flagged ever since his breakthrough rookie season. Panthers coaches hope Kelvin Benjamin can be part of that answer. The team is reportedly very excited about what the big receiver can offer with head coach Ron Rivera saying Benjamin can make an “immediate impact” on third downs and in the red zone. While Newton’s value isn’t quite as high as it once was, he should still rank among the top 10 signal-callers in fantasy football. As for Benjamin … it would be wise not to overvalue him until we know more how he’ll be used.
Rams could expand Austin’s role: Much was expected of Tavon Austin last season. Little was delivered. The reasons for Austin’s spotty production in 2013 are numerous, but now the Rams are hoping that those struggles are in the past. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer says the second-year receiver could have an expanded role with the club this season. Of course, this was some of what we heard about Austin last year, too. The biggest obstacle to Austin’s success could be Schottenheimer. In 2013, it looked like St. Louis had no true idea of how to use the speedy playmaker. Here’s to hoping they’ve used the last year to figure it out.
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