FanPost

I Have A Problem: An Entirely Too Early & Presumptuous Look at the Vikings 53 (+ Practice Squad)


Though, lets be honest: you also clicked on that headline, so you clearly have some issues too. It only in admitting we have them that we can move forward from an awesome draft weekend for the Vikings and on the the next big projection, who are the top 53 players on the roster. Here is a link to the Vikings current roster including draft picks and UDFAs so we are all going from the same list. Lets dig in!

QB (3):

Matt Cassel, Christian Ponder, Teddy Bridgewater

Maybe the easiest to project who will be on the final roster. There aren't any other QBs on the roster and Vikings traditionally keep 3 QBs. Only two ways this changes by Week 1 is A) Ponder is traded and they grab a UDFA/Street FA or B) Another team releases an interesting QB prospect and Vikings cut one of the current QB, which again, would likely be Ponder, to get him.

FB/RB (5):

Adrian Peterson, Jerome Felton, Jerick McKinnon, Zach Line, Bradley Randle

AD and Felton are as sure-fire roster locks as anyone in this category. Their presence also reduces the need for too many numbers here. McKinnon will likely be next guy on the field and could also see time as a slot WR/return man. Line is not only a nice backup to Felton, but he can also serve and the "big back" in goal line/short field situations. Because of Line, I didn't think Asiata was worth keeping around. While he served well when asked to play, I think Line is the better RB and has the versatility to be more than a HB. Randle brings a quick/shiftiness to the position that helps balance out the talent types being kept as AD's backups.

WR (5):

Greg Jennings, Cordarrelle Patterson, Jarius Wright, Jerome Simpson, Rodney Smith

With no additions to WR coming in the draft, this is seems to be the position on offense that will see the least amount of attrition from last season. Smith's spot at the end of the WR roster could turn into a revolving door if no one can lock down that spot. My hope is that with Norv installing a more vertical offense that Wright will see more playing time, as he is arguably the most productive deep threat on the team and didn't get many opportunities under Frazier.

TE (4):

Kyle Rudolph, Chase Ford, Rhett Ellison, AC Leonard

No real change at the TE spot other than getting Rudolph back healthy. Ford does well as a #2 with Ellison playing the hybrid H-Back/FB role. Gave AC Leonard the spot over fan favorite Allan Reisner for a couple reasons. Reisner has size and can block, but the other three already on the roster have that and are capable receivers. AC may not be asked to block much, but his receiving skills and athleticism are off the charts. Plus, how often do Vikings take chances on potential off-field problem-types? Not that often, so them giving AC a chance is intriguing.

OL (7):

Matt Kalil, Charlie Johnson, John Sullivan, Brandon Fusco, Phil Loadholt, Jeff Baca, David Yankey

Starting line up plus 2 or 3 swing OL are the usual recipe for OL structure in Minnesota and that doesn't change here. Charlie Johnson may not hang on to that starting role through training camp, but if he does lose out his job to either Baca or Yankey, he is the most experienced OL on the team and in case of injury is capable of playing every position on OL. Baca can sub at OG/C and Yankey at OG/OT.

DL (8):

Everson Griffin, Sharrif Floyd, Linval Joseph, Brian Robison, Scott Crichton, Corey Wooten, Fred Evans, Kheeston Randall

A heavy rotation of bodies is expected along the DL. I imagine it will be similar to hockey in that each sub-package (line) will have a name and when that name is called those guys are expected on the field for those packages. Griffin, Floyd, Joseph, and Robison will be the closest to a "base" personnel that the Vikings will have. Joseph seems the most likely to be the first off the field in rotation since he's a traditional NT. Expect the Vikings to rely on getting to the QB to help with secondary issues that weren't addressed high in the draft.

LB (7):

Anthony Barr, Chad Greenway, Jasper Brinkley, Audie Cole, Michael Mauti, Gerald Hodges, Larry Dean

Linebacker is position where outside the top spots, anyone can win a job. Barr is going to the the lynch pin of Zimmer's defense at SLB which will move Greenway to WLB and give him a chance to stop his decline of the past couple years. Brinkley seems to fit the role of MLB for Zimmer much like Vontaze Burfict did in Cincy. Brinkley will no longer be asked to drop into Tampa-2 coverage which should help him. Cole, Mauti, and Hodges represent potential starter/special team roster fodder. Dean gets the nod over others on the roster (including draft pick Brandon Watts) due to already being a special teams superstar.

CB (6):

Xavier Rhodes, Captain Munnerlyn, Josh Robinson, Shaun Prater, Derek Cox, Marcus Sherels

Rhodes and Munnerlyn appear to be the #1 and #2 guys while the rest appear to be JAGs (Just A Guy). However, with Zim and Co around one or two of those JAGs might just step up and play an important role on the defense. Robinson and Prater saw the most time last year while Cox is a tall (6'1") CB fighting for his last chance in the league. Sherels showed well in spot duty, but outside of his return skills you dont want to rely on him in coverage.

S (5):

Harrison Smith, Jamarca Sanford, Antone Exum, Andrew Sendejo, Robert Blanton

Another roster position that could see a lot of turnover behind the tops at the spot. Smith is back (yay!), but so is everyone that was behind him with the only new addition being Exum, who is coming off a season of injury. Sendejo and Blanton got the nod because of special teams but Raymond, Coleman, or Bishop could take one of their spots.

Special Teams (3):

Blair Walsh, Jeff Locke, Cullen Loeffler

Seems pretty self explanatory. These guys got their jobs on lock down.

Practice Squad (8):

Antonio Richardson (OT), Austin Wentworth (OG), Isame Faciane (NT), Dominique Williams (RB), Kendall James (CB), Jabari Price (CB), Brandon Watts (LB), Shamar Stephen (DL)

The practice squad is due for a turnover with the new coaching staff. Not positive that the last 4 draft picks make the team, but dont worry too much that other teams will look to poach them. Of this group, Antonio "Tiny" Richardson might be the toughest to move through waivers, especially once OTs on other teams start getting injured in camp.

So there is an initial construction of the Vikings 53 (+ Practice Squad) that is most likely to change within the hour I press publish. Did I forget anyone? Leave your favorite fringe roster player off the list? Well, YOU try putting one of these together without the help of training camps or a Rick Spielman mind-link. No really: lets see who everyone thinks has a chance to make this years Vikings team!

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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