FanPost

Longshot Vikings: Which Players Will Make the Final Roster?

If you've been following the Longshot Vikings series during the offseason, then hopefully you've learned a little something about the 16 undrafted rookies the Vikings are bringing to Training Camp. I highlighted two players in each of the 8 posts, and pitted them against one another in the polls to find out which players the Daily Norsemen thinks has the best chance to make the 53-man roster. But, before I reveal the results, it's worth looking back in history to see how frequently an undrafted rookie has made the team. After consulting the historical rosters on Vikings.com, and the team transaction data at ESPN, I learned that over the past 11 years, since 2002, a total of 40 undrafted rookies have made it to the 53-man roster (granted, some of them started on the practice squad and were called up mid-year...but still). That means, on average, almost 4 undrafted rookies have made the roster each year since 2002, and below is the complete list of all 40 players. Names in bold have gone on to achieve a starters role at some point in their career, and players in italics are still on the roster for the upcoming training camp.

2002: RB Jack Brewer, a backup (4 years in the league)
2002: WR/KR Kelly Campbell, a backup (3 years in the league)
2002: WR/KR Nick Davis, a backup (2 years in the league)
2002: QB Shaun Hill, a backup turned starter (10 years in the league)
2003: TE Sean Berton, a backup (3 years in the league)
2003: DT Colin Cole, a backup turned starter (8 years in the league)
2003: S Ron Israel, a backup (1 year in the league, released mid-year by Vikings and picked up by Cleveland)
2003: DB Rushen Jones, a backup (2 years in the league)
2003: RB Larry Ned, a backup (2 years in the league)
2003: RB Rhett Nelson, a backup (2 years in the league)
2004: OG Anthony Herrera, backup turned starter (8 years in the league)
2004: DT Spencer Johnson, backup turned starter for Buffalo (9 years in the league)

2004: LS Cullen Loeffler, a starter
2004: WR Ben Nelson, a backup (1 year in the league)
2004: TE Richard Owens, a backup (4 years in the league)
2004: RB Larry Ned, a backup (2 years in the league)
2005: DB Davonte Edwards, a backup (2 years in the league)
2005: LB Heath Farwell, a backup/special teams ace (7 years in the league)
2005: DB Laroni Gallishaw, a backup (1 year in the league)
2005: DB Will Hunter, a backup (2 years in the league)
2005: P Chris Kluwe, starter (8 years in the league)
2005: DE Jayme Mitchell, a backup turned starter for Cleveland (5 years in the league)
2005: WR Martin Nance, a backup (1 year in the league)
2005: DE Khreem Smith, practice squad to backup (3 years in the league)
2006: DB Charles Gordon, a backup (3 years in the league)
2007: S Eric Frampton, a backup (6 years in the league)
2007: LB David Herron, a backup (4 years in the league)
2008: S Husain Abdullah, a backup turned starter (4 years in the league)
2008: LB Erin Henderson, a starter (5 years in the league)
2008: WR/KR Darius Reynaud, a backup (4 years in the league)
2009: C Jon Cooper, a backup (3 years in the league)
2010: OT Thomas Welch, a backup (3 years in the league)
2010: CB/PR Marcus Sherels, a backup (3 years in the league)
2011: WR Emmanuel Arcenaux, a backup (1 year in the league)
2011: RB Caleb King, a backup (1 year in the league)
2011: RB Matt Asiata, a backup (2 years in league)
2011: LB Larry Dean, a backup (2 years in the league)
2012: OG Mark Asper, a backup (1 year in the league)
2012: QB McCleod Bethel-Thompson, a backup (1 year in the league)

As you can see 6 players currently on the roster were undrafted rookies (and there are several more that were on the practice squad last year vying for a spot, or were on IR). And over the past 11 years, 9 undrafted rookies the Vikings initially signed have gone on to have starting experience (though most with other teams). In fact, every single year since 2002 the Vikings have had at least one undrafted rookie make the final 53-man roster at some point in the season. And let's not forget about the most famous undrafted player in Vikings history: defensive end John Randle who merely went on to earn 7 Pro Bowls and 6 All-Pro selections. Given the history the Vikings have with undrafted rookies making the final roster, surely some of those 16 players I highlighted in this series of articles will have a chance to as well.

So, without further ado, here are the 8 players that won their poll each week, listed in order of most percentage of "yes" votes.

1. Running Back/Fullback, Zach Line, Southern Methodist 90%

2. Safety Brandon Bishop, NC State 89%

3. Defensive Tackle Anthony McCloud, Florida State 87%

4. Safety Darius Eubanks, Georgia Southern 86%

5. Defensive End Collins Ukwu, Kentucky 60%

6. Cornerback Rod Williams, Alcorn State/Edmonton Eskimos 60%

7. Wide Receiver Adam Theilen, Minnesota State Mankato, 56%

8. Running Back Jerodis Williams, Furman 53%

I have to say that I pretty much agree 100% with this list. If I had to pick one undrafted rookie to make the team, it would be Zach Line, and if I had to pick a second player, it would be Brandon Bishop. Even Anthony McCloud has a legitimate shot with only Letroy Guion and Fred Evans standing in his way. With the Vikings recent trend of having some undrafted rookies make the final roster, I would be very surprised if none of the players above make the team, and we'll surely see some of them find their way onto the practice squad.

So, loyal readers, which Longshot Vikings candidates do you think have the best shot to make the 53-man roster? If you think it will be Zach Line, why? Could Brandon Bishop unseat Andrew Sendejo or Robert Blanton? Maybe Anthony McCloud will be the big man in the middle that we've been looking for? What about any of the other players? Let us know why in the comments!

This FanPost was created by a registered user of The Daily Norseman, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the staff of the site. However, since this is a community, that view is no less important.

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