I know that Ted and Mark have already covered this. But much like draft season, we all have differing opinions about the direction we would like to see the Vikings front office go in terms of player personnel. So in the spirit of sharing opinions, I offer you my final 53.
(Note: This is not a prediction on who I think the Triangle of Authority will keep and cut. Rather this is my list of players that I think are the best 53 players, not only today but going foward.)
Quarterback (3)--Donovan McNabb, Christian Ponder, Joe Webb. This decision has already been made. Rhett Bomar saw absolutely zero playing time in the preseason and has already turned in his playbook. Case closed.
Unless of course the TOA pulls a shocker and moves Webb to WR and pulls #4 off his lawn mower again.
Running Back (3)--Adrian Peterson, Toby Gerhart, Lorenzo Booker. The biggest question is will they or won't they keep a fullback. The two in camp certainly deserve consideration. But it appears that Musgrave's offense is more geared toward's creating mismatches on the perimeter with motion's and multiple formations; and he accomplishes this by utilizing multiple TE's. My gut says they keep 4 TE's and D'Imperio is back on the PS for another year.
Tight End (4)--Visanthe Shiancoe, Jimmy Kleinsaucer, Kyle Rudolph, Allen Reisner. Let the youth movement begin. Jeff Dugan has been a solid player for years. But with the emergance of Rudolph and Reisner, the Vikings drop several birthdays and go with the upside of these two rookies to go along with the established veteran duo of Shank and Sauce.
Wide Receiver (6)--Percy Harvin, Michael Jenkins, Bernard Berrian, Devin Aromashadu, Manny Arceneaux, Jaymar Johnson. I have gone back and forth on this. And I am still waffling. Originally I had Juaquin Iglesias ahead of Arceneaux. But this is about what have you done for me lately. And Arceneaux has come on strong as of late. I still think Jaymar is our best option at PR, so he gets the nod over Iglesias at this point.
Offensive Line (9)--Charlie Johnson, Steve Hutchinson, John Sullivan, Anthony Herrera, Phil Loadholt, Demarcus Love, Ryan Cook, Seth Olsen, Brandon Fusco. I think the first 5 are pretty much set. I also think that Love has steadily improved and impressed this preseason at both tackle spots. Ryan Cook has been an under appreciated utility player up and down the line. He did afterall anchor the line that helped AP set the single game rushing record. I was pleasantly surprised by Seth Olsen last night. He looked much more capable than Chris DeGeare ever has in my opinion. You might point to the fact that Olsen was battling other reserves, but DeGeare has never stood out in my opinion, at least not in a positive way, even against reserves. It would be great if we could sneak Fusco unto the PS to keep another veteran, but he will get poached so we have to keep him on the 53.
Defensive Tackles (5)--Kevin Williams, Remy Ayodele, Christian Ballard, Letroy Guion, Fred Evans. We need to address both lines, like last April. But this bunch still has some gas in the tank. We will be without Kevin Williams for at least the first 2 games so it will give us a chance to see how Ballard and Guion perform in his place. It also makes it neccessary for the Vikes to carry 5 players at this position. If KWill returns healthy after his suspension, it could provide some wiggle room to cut Evans and pick up another DB or LB down the road. Ayodele will be counted on to be Phat Pat lite and Fred Evans provides the veteran presence.
Defensive Ends (5)--Jared Allen, Brian Robison, Everson Griffen, Adrian Awasom, Stylez G. White. I had my doubts after the Tennessee game about Robison being an every down DE. He has shown improvement and I think he starts day one. But I also am liking the depth we are seeing with Awasom, White and Griffen. I would not be surprised to see Robison drop down to DT and Awasom at DE on passing downs. This versatility will be huge, especially early on while guys get healthy and serve their suspension.
Linebackers (6)--EJ Henderson, Chad Greenway, Erin Henderson, Heath Farwell, Larry Dean, Jasper Brinkley/Ross Homan. With the injuries to Onotulu, Farwell and Brinkely the team has to start the year with 6 players. If Brinkley misses a significant amount of time, I expect him to be placed on IR and Homan will fill his spot. I have not been impressed with Homan's instincts thus far and would not rule out the Vikings picking up a player or two off the waiver wire.
I am looking at upside with the DBs. I think we know what we have in Asher Allen and Tyrell Johnson. I think we know that they don't have any more room for improvement. Because of that I would roll with Brandon Burton and Marcus Sherels ahead of Allen.
Specialists (3)--Longwell, Kluwe, Loeffler.