I recently wrote the first part to my off-season plan for the Vikings, and I continue that here.
I will start with a depth chart of the Vikings current roster, then go through said roster and analyze what I believe will occur this offseason in regards to certain players. *Edit note-Never use ESPN's Depth Charts; they totally leave out all players on IR.
Analysis-I believe that at most two of these players will be back on the roster come next season. Matt Cassel, when not playing good defenses, has shown enough that I think the Vikings can trust him enough to have him lead their offense next season while he also grooms their top QB pick from the 2014 Draft. Between Freiman and Ponder, I think Ponder could possibly be willing to come back to the Vikings as a backup (though it might be a little awkward for all parties involved.) The reason I choose Ponder over Freiman is because of what happened with the Giants game and the way the Vikings ignored Freiman after that.
Keep-Ponder and Cassel
Analysis-Adrian Peterson will come back healthy at the beginning of next season, and hopefully he can stay healthier than this season and chase that rushing record once again. Toby is likely heading off to greener pastures, though after the two performances of Matt Asiata (166 rushing yards, 3 TD's). Though I don't know Asiata' skill with pass blocking, I would hope that Asiata or Banyard could make up for Gerhart's 3rd down skills.
Keep-All Day, Asiata, Banyard
FB-Jerome Felton, Zach Line
Analysis-It's Jerome Felton. He has done a good job coming off the three-game suspension he incurred, and is a somewhat underrated pass-catcher out of the backfield, and is a Top-3 Fullback. Felton isn't going anywhere. I hope that the Vikings can keep Line around (and I think them putting Line on IR was doing that). He was definitely improving this training camp cycle, so it should be interesting to see what happens with him next season. HOLD THE LINE!
Analysis-Honestly, I don't understand why people are so interested in the Vikings picking up a big name WR on the FA market when their current depth chart is fairly respectable. I mean, they don't have say, a Calvin Johnson or A.J. Green type, but Cordarrelle Patterson has the skill set that a coach can drool over, and Greg Jennings is no slouch either. I really like Jarius Wright, and I believe that he is an underrated deep threat out of the slot. Greg Childs hasn't played a down in the NFL, Joe Webb is still learning the craft of the WR, and though he is "an athletic freak," the Vikings could find a better use for his roster spot. Smith is a project WR. Simpson is a question mark in my mind; he can produce a fair amount, but he has character concerns, and he has an uncertain legal status after his arrest mid-season. Also, he starts at the same spot as Patterson, and the Vikings would do well to not block his skills from the playing field.
Keep-Jennings, Patterson, Wright, Smith, Childs
Analysis-Both Rudolph and Carlson were beset by injuries this season, Rudolph with his foot and Carlson with his continuing problems with concussions which may possibly cost him his career. Ford and Ellison had to step up and fill their places. Ford made his mark when he carried AP to the end zone, and Ellison may have taken a step back in his run-blocking prowess from last season. This could be a position the Vikings want to upgrade either in the draft or in Free Agency, most likely to replace Carlson (though I suppose that if the Vikings think he is ready, Ellison could step up).
Keep-Rudolph, Ford, Ellison
Analysis-Kalil and Loadholt aren't going anywhere, even if they had down seasons. Remmers is under contract next season, but if the Vikings can find an upgrade at the tackle position, he is only being paid $495,000, and can be cut with little fuss. J'Marcus Webb was picked up from the Bears, and didn't get much action this season, but it wasn't great when he was playing. I would imagine that the sooner that the Vikings can find an upgrade at the backup tackles, the better.
Keep-Kalil, Loadholt, Remmers
Analysis-Brandon Fusco, though previously vilified, is having the best season of anyone on the Vikings O-Line. Johnson is probably the most replaceable member of the Vikings line, and an upgrade would be great to improving the Vikings blocking. Baca hasn't gotten much action, but I totally believe that he could replace Johnson and be somewhat of an upgrade.
Center-John Sullivan, Joe Berger
Analysis-Berger is a serviceable swing lineman, and Sullivan, though he is having a bit of a down season, is still a Top 15 Center and will hopefully have a better season next year.
After this, our lineup would look like this going across the line (Extra players but 3-WR set w/TE and FB as well):
QB-Cassel (Ponder backup)
FB-Felton (Line backup)
RB-Peterson (Banyard, Asiata backups)
TE-Rudolph (Ellison, Ford backups)
WR-Patterson, Wright, Jennings (Smith, Childs backups)
Linemen-Kalil, Baca, Sullivan, Fusco, Loadholt (Berger, Remmers backups)
Pt. 1-Coaching Decision
Pt. 2.5-Defensive Roster Decisions
Pt. 3-Free Agent Targets
Pt. 4-Draft Projections