I think as good as the Vikings are becoming and as solid as the roster is; it will probably have more changes to it from last year to this, than from 2011 to 2012. I am on board with the idea that as good as a draft as we had last year; that this year's was even better. And I do think the roster is improved, even though we have lost some great players in Winfield and Harvin. Minnesota is building an ever changing roster that should be competitive year in and year out. With that said, I still believe there will be even more familiar names to be removed from the roster as well as more changes before week one of the regular season.
Most see Joe Webb as a player that will be gone and he might be; I hope not. I hope he stays as a WR, KR and RB and if so that's one change. I think there is a real possibility that Charlie Johnson gets beat out of his job and because of his salary; gets the ax. That would be two somewhat significant changes to the roster. Obviously Matt Cassle was signed and will be the number 2 QB and that is also different than last year, but I'm going to guess MBT remains and is the number 3 this year and if we don't see significant improvement; it will be his last year in Minnesota. I think we will see a difference in our back up offensive linemen as well. Though, I expect the starters to be the same outside of Johnson.
I think we will see some other somewhat familiar names eliminated from the roster.I think they will be Marcus Sherels, Larry Dean, Tyrone McKenzie, Joe Berger, Stephen Burton nd maybe Brandon Burton as well if doesn't show major improvement this off season, especially in training camp, as much as everyone including myself roots for Audie Cole; he must improve a lot as well, or he may be let go or placed on the practice squad. Now, I know what people are thinking, 'wait, that wold be 3 LBs cut and we need LBs,' yes we do, but need good ones. Others that I think may be gone are Chris Kluwe(big surprise there), DeMarcus Love, maybe he's healthy, but he's been out awhile, Troy Kropog, Andrew Sendejo and Matt Asiata. Asiata's future may or may not hinge a lot on whether or not Toby Gerhart is dealt, which is possible, but it is looking more and more like he will remain on the roster his final year of his contract, especially with RB needy teams drafting one or in at least one case two running backs. This looks to be the case with Brian Robison as well. So, keeping Gerhart and Robison for one more year is a good thing in my book. It did look like it would be a possibility that one of or both would be dealt not too long ago. And it could still happen now, but would say it is a more likely scenario that they both remain on the team for one more year anyway.
Spielman drafted two LBs; one inside and one outside and I think Hodges might make it as a starting LB, but not a MLB. I think Mauti is the better of the two and if had to bet which one would see more playing time this year; my money is on Mauti. Throw those two in there with the possibility that the Vikings still very well may sign Brian Urlacher or a distant possibilty of Dansby and one can see how a few of the current LBs would be cut. I really don't think Minnesota will sign any other free agents other than that, unless something to good to pass up came up,which is very doubtful.
So, with that said; we could see a new starter at the LB position or a switch for Henderson and that would be two different starters at two of the LB positions, at one of the guard positions, a new starting corner and defensive tackle(Rhodes & Floyd), one or two new starting WRs and the new punter. So, just looking at the starters; there is a strong possibility of 8 new starts at positions we didn't see last year. Then we get to the back ups and overall depth and we have a new # 2 QB, likely a new # 3 RB, likely 2 more new WRs even if it's Webb and Childs, at least one more LB for depth however it ends up, 2 new back up offensive linemen and this kid Bishop may make some noise and solidify a back up safety spot on the team. If that were to happen; we would likely have 8 new significant back up players as well, for a total of 16 new or different players that will have very significant playing time and have a huge impact on how many games we win this year.