So, after two pre-season games in the books, things are becoming clearer in terms of who makes the Vikings roster, and who doesn't. Here is my break-down of who is a roster lock, on the bubble, and who's
done. As I see it, the competition is mainly among linemen and defensive secondary and RB/FB position groups for the open spots, and even that competition is narrowing.
Here we go, using the Vikings unofficial depth chart format:
QB: Christian Ponder, Matt Cassell, McLeod Bethel-Thompson,
RB: Adrian Peterson, Toby Gerhardt , Matt Asiata, Joe Banyard, Bradley Randle,
FB: Jerome Felton, Zach Line
SE: Jerome Simpson, Cordarrelle Patterson, Joe Webb,
Chris Summers, Rodney Smith , Greg Childs (PUP)
FL: Greg Jennings, Jarius Wright, Stephen Burton,
LaMark Brown, Adam Thielen, Erik Highsmith
TE: Kyle Rudolph, John Carlson, Rhett Ellison,
Chase Ford, Colin Anderson
LT: Matt Kalil, Kevin Murphy,
LG: Charlie Johnson, Jeff Baca,
C: John Sullivan, Joe Berger,
RG: Brandon Fusco, Seth Olson, Travis Bond
RT: Phil Loadholt, Brandon Keith,
LDE: Brian Robison, Everson Griffen, D’Aundre Reed, Lawrence Jackson,
DT: Kevin Williams, Sharrif Floyd, Christian Ballard, Everett Dawkins
NT: Letroy Guion, Fred Evans,
Chase Baker, Anthony McCloud
RDE: Jared Allen, Everson Griffen, George Johnson,
SLB: Chad Greenway, Larry Dean, Gerald Hodges
MLB: Erin Henderson, Audie Cole, Michael Mauti,
WLB: Marvin Mitchell, Desmond Bishop, Tyrone McKenzie
LCB: Josh Robinson, Xavier Rhodes, Jacob Lacey, Marcus Sherels,
SS: Jamarca Sanford, Mistrial Raymond, Andrew Sendejo,
FS: Harrison Smith, Robert Blandon,
RCB: Chris Cook, AJ Jefferson, Brandon Burton, Bobby Felder,
K: Blair Walsh
P/H: Jeff Locke
LS: Cullen Loeffler
KR: Cordarrelle Patterson
PR: Marcus Sherels, Jarius Wright, Stephen Burton
As it stands right now, I have:
· 43 players on the ‘roster lock’ list
· 24 players on the bubble
· 22 players on the cut list
· 1 player on the PUP list
So, there are really 24 players in competition for 10 roster spots at this point. Let’s break it down.
Among those on the bubble, here are the players I consider strong candidates to make the team and why:
McCleod Bethel-Thompson. I believe the Vikings will keep 3 QBs on the roster because MBT is showing progress and strong arm, and he can also take Cassel’s spot as backup in the next year or two.
Stephen Burton. As a returning Viking having a fairly strong camp, he’s unlikely to be cut. Moreover, Burton can be a strong contributor on special teams, and may even win the punt returner position.
Joe Webb. Webb has plenty of talent and potential, and is making enough progress at WR, so the Vikings will keep him as a project with significant upside. He may also contribute on special teams. Webb is also a returning Viking whose attitude and work ethic give him the benefit of the doubt with the coaching staff and GM.
Given those picks, I think it a strong likelihood the Vikings keep 6 WRs on the roster. It also leaves 21 players competing for only 7 roster spots in basically 4 position groups.
The first position group is offensive line. I suspect there are 2 open spots here. I give Brandon Keith the inside track for the first spot. The second spot is up for grabs between Kevin Murphy, Seth Olson and Travis Bond. None of these guys have been particularly impressive to date, so there is also the possibility that someone outside is signed after one of the roster cuts as well.
Next is the running back/full-back position. I expect one open spot here. Asiata is the default option based on experience with the team, so one of the others needs to prove themself clearly better to win the spot. Blocking skill and special teams ability will probably be more important than running ability.
Next is defensive line. I expect 2 open spots here. One DE and one DT. I suspect that Lawrence Jackson and Christian Ballard may have the inside track here. Here again I don't think anyone on the bubble in this group has stood out much, so there is also the possibility of bringing in someone off of waivers. Particularly if a decent NT becomes available.
Last is the defensive secondary, and may really just be for the safety position. I think Andrew Sendejo has made a strong case for himself here, but he’ll be competing against Mistrial Raymond and Robert Blandon for only two open spots. I think the CBs on the bubble are really on the outside looking in at this point.
Outside of these groups, I have Tyrone McKenzie on the bubble in the linebacker group. But only if something happens to Desmond Bishop and he doesn’t make the team. Otherwise I think McKenzie is cut.
I expect Greg Childs to remain on the PUP, and will either be placed on IR or moved to the practice squad if there is another injury that provides the space on the roster.
Lastly, within both the offensive line and defensive line position groups, and even the linebacker group, it’s possible that somebody is signed off of waivers after the first or second cut that ends up making the team.
Of course this leaves some players that have had decent showings in camp and some fan favorites out in the cold. Bobby Felder, Bradley Randle, Zach Line and Adam Theilen come to mind. But that happens, sadly, every year.