Its the dead calm between the draft and OTAs, which means it time to debate things that will change half a million times by the time the season starts. Guys are going to get cut and guys cut from other teams are going to get picked up, so the guys that may look likely to make the roster may not even be in Minnesota when the final roster is locked in. For now though, lets take a look at where the Vikings stand, starting with the O.
Offense: (25 players)
The first four seem pretty obvious. Jennings was the big free agent acquisition and Patterson was one of the big draft acquisition of the offseason. Wright and Simpson are holdovers from last season, both of whom will be expected to improve on their play from last season. The last two spots were tough to pick because (A) there are quite a few talents competing for it, (B) they've invested a lot in Childs and still don't know if he'll play this year, and (C) with Jennings/Wright/Patterson all having the ability to play out of the slot, the Vikings could really use this season to find someone to break out as an outside WR. Could be Simpson, could be Patterson, could be Childs if he is healthy, or it could be Summers, who the staff has really liked and may give a chance to see if he can play. The Vikings have lots of options to throw at the wall and see who sticks, so its going to be about the fight in training camp to see who will get the season long opportunity to separate themselves from the pack.
The Tight End group is one of the easiest to project (it seems) right now. The top 3 are pretty established and Ford would be a nice backup option should any of them get injured.
OL: Kalil / Johnson / Sullivan / Fusco / Loadholt
The OL is about as established as the TE group, but the backups are more up in the air than anything. The starting five aren't going to change unless there is an injury and that is where the positional breakdown really begins. Baca seems to have at least one backup OL spot down. He was a 6th round pick and should make the team off that distinction alone, but that he can backup both OC and OG make him a nice versatile piece for the interior line. This was Joe Berger's job, so Baca may be taking his old roster spot. Outside of Baca, actual NFL experience will probably valued at the backup spots which is why I went with Olsen and Keith. Olsen has the most starts of any other lineman on the roster (assuming Berger is gone) and can fill in at OG/RT and Keith is a mammoth man who is formerly a Arizona Cardinal before taking last year off. He can step in at RT if Loadholt is hurt or fill in at guard. In the unlikely and horrible event that Kalil is hurt (knock on wood, etc), I think they would move Johnson back to LT and use on the backups to take Johnson's LG spot.
RB/FB: AD, Gerhart, Asiata, Felton
Felton and AD are both pretty obvious. Many have been hoping Gerhart was being used as trade bait, but the complete lack of depth behind him makes me think Gerhart plays out the rest of his rookie contract and leaves in the offseason. He is a quality backup and potential #1 in a RBBC, so he still has value to the Vikings, who would have to be blown away by an offer to keep any of the rest of the RB roster as legitimate backups to AD. Personally, I would have tried to find a #3 RB with quicks/speed in this years draft because that is the kind of talent I think could/should stick to the roster as a 3rd RB (especially when you have AD and Gerhart ahead of them), but that didn't happen and its possible one of the UDFA RBs with those qualities makes the final roster, but I bet they have more faith/comfort with the devil they know and stick with Asiata.
QB: Ponder, Cassel, MBT
I think Webb will go through a lot of tests during this years camp to see if he can contribute at other roster spots, but I don't think he'll end up with the Vikings. He could end up taking that 3rd QB spot and be used in a variety of ways (Returner/WR/RB/etc), but it seems more likely that they would continue to use the 3rd QB spot for a developmental QB. Everyone else seems pretty self explanatory.
Defense: (25 players)
If it weren't for the fact that every one of these guys will need a new contract by the end of the season, it would be a lot easier to be comfortable with these roster spots. Still think Griffen gets a new contract before the start of the season, but it will be interesting to see who else the Vikings decide to target for a new contract before jumping into the draft to replace the rest.
NT: Guion, Evans
This was one of the most disappointing roster spots from last season and both guys are returning. Hopefully it can get better, but its looking like NT will be high on the "needs" list for the 2014 draft along with DE. Good chance that Sharrif Floyd gets a fair share of his snaps here while KWill plays out his contract.
DT: KWill, Sharrif Floyd, Everett Dawkins
KWill has been great for the Vikings and its sad to think that this will be his last year with the team. The nature of his contract reconstruction makes it seem like the writing is on the wall. Floyd is his defacto heir apparent and will likely sub and play alongside KW. It was kind of a toss up between Ballard and Dawkins, but I ended up going Dawkins. Ballard is a former 4th round pick, but he hasn't made the most of his opportunities and all the coaches may need is for one of the younger DTs to show they can play for them to move on from him.
Assuming everyone becomes or stays healthy, the LB might just be ok. But only ok. Greenway is great and not much more you can add to that. Everyone else is either unproven or average at best. Henderson can play the MLB and nickel spots, but he'll start there mostly because the other options aren't ready yet. Hodges will likely be the next LB in either as OLB in 4-3 or nickel LB. Mauti could end up taking over the MLB spot, but it wont happen til later in the season if it does. Same with Cole, but both can also contribute on special teams as they earn starting time. Dean is a special teamer who could improve with another year in the system, but he is also very replaceable.
Cook and Rhodes seems to be penciled in as the top outside guys for now. Robinson can sub for them as well as play Winfield's old role in nickel. Lacey and Jefferson are depth guys who should help more on special teams and sub packages. The starting three seem pretty solid on paper, but the depth will have to prove itself. Sherels gets the last spot because of his experience as a returner, but he could lose out to another safety/LB if they feel comfortable with Patterson doing all the returns.
Smith and Sanford did a great job working together on the back end of the secondary and its likely they continue that relationship. Raymond's injury is what first gave Sanford the chance to start, so he will likely be fighting to get those snaps back. Blanton will likely find a few snaps for himself this year, but will have a bigger presence on special
Special Teams: (3 players)
Anyone want to place some bets on if the Vikings draft LS on the 3rd day of the draft next year? Anyone? No? Ok then. The rest of the special teamers have been selected there the past two drafts giving the Vikings a pair of very young kickers. Hopefully Locke can have a similar impact as Walsh made his first year.
Practice Squad: (8 players)
CB Bobby Felder - Spent last year on IR, but could be worth stashing to see how he improved from last year.
DE Marquise Jackson - Athletic pass rusher who could use the year to learn at NFL level and be insurance for any of the one year contract DEs
NT Anthony McCloud - Not a lot happening talent wise at NT and McCloud has the size and ability worth developing.
FB Zach Line - A underrated FB/RB out of SMU. Could be cheaper replacement for Felton/Gerhart in a year.
OL Travis Bond - 7th Rd draft pick that could use some seasoning, but his potential for being a swing OL at OG/RT is more than enough to keep him around.
RB Jerodis Williams - One of the few UDFA RB's with some quicks/speed to his game.
S Darius Eubanks - A versatile defender (played LB and safety at Georgia Southern) who could be an intriguing option as a cover safety.
WR Adam Thielen - Local product did well enough at the rookie minicamp to get the Vikings attention, but not yet ready for the final roster.