Wow, it’s May already? Baseball season is well underway, the first of many OTA’s have come and gone, and training camp is around the corner. So, let’s take a peek into the crystal ball and do a ridiculously early prediction at the final 53 man roster, shall we? I’ll list everyone currently on the Vikings roster, to include the unsigned draft picks, and then put in bold the final cut. I’m
even going to take a stab pass at the 8 man practice squad; it's insane enought trying to figure out what the 53 man roster is going to be. In May. Please make sure you bookmark this, so you can email me and tell me I’m an idiot in four months, but I warn you, the line forms behind my Dad and my teenager. Anyways, let's get on with it.
QB (3): Brett Favre, Tarvaris Jackson, Sage Rosenfels, Ryan Perriloux, RJ Archer, Joe Webb
I think it’s safe to say that the top three from last year will be the top three this year, barring catastrophic injury, or the Thing We Shall Not Speak Of happens. Favre was Favre, Jackson played well in garbage time, and Rosenfels offers a veteran presence in case, you know, a
certain Hall of Fame quarterback doesn’t return in 2010…sorry, I said we wouldn’t speak of that. If I had to handicap the quarterback roster minus Favre, and I could only pick from these guys and assume no veteran signing right as training camp ends, I would go with Jackson, Rosenfels, and draft pick Joe Webb. I know a lot of folks think Webb will be moved to a receiver position like Brad Smith or Antwaan Randle-El, but I don’t see Perriloux or Archer out-performing Webb.
RB (5): Adrian Peterson, Toby Gerhart, Jeff Dugan, Ian Johnson, James Johnson, Darius Reynaud, Naufahu Tahi, Albert Young
Besides AP, Gerhart, and Tahi, I see the RB battle being one of the most intriguing ones of training camp and pre-season. Albert Young has looked good in limited action, and has been praised by Brad Childress more than once during the off-season as a legitimate replacement for Chester Taylor. Prior to drafting Gerhart, Chilly also announced the position switch of Darius Reynaud, erstwhile punt return specialist, and a guy that has playmaking ability. I envision Reynaud as a Percy Harvin hybrid receiver-runner type; a super H-back, if you will. With the drafting of Gerhart, I think the battle for the last RB position will be between Young and Reynaud. Reynaud has an advantage in that he can also return punts, but Young doesn’t have to learn a new position. I give the edge to Reynaud right now because of his return ability, but this will be fascinating to watch.
WR (5): Bernard Berrian, Taye Biddle, Marquis Hamilton, Percy Harvin, Jaymar Johnson, Greg Lewis, Aaron Rhea, Sidney Rice, Ray Small, Kelton Tindal
The front line guys—Berrian, Rice, Percy, and Lewis are really no surprise. But with the switch of Reynaud to RB, a position opens up for the 5th WR spot. If Reynaud makes the team as a RB, I am going to assume he also returns as the incumbent punt returner. But if Reynaud cannot make the switch, Ray Small, from…wait for it…THE Ohio State University, has a legitimate chance to make the team as the 5th receiver and punt returner. And if I can take my Scarlet colored glasses off for a minute…okay, I can’t…but seriously, Small is the Nuke LaLoosh of all 2010 draft eligible players. He has a million dollar talent with a five cent head. If he can grow up, he can make this team. If Reynaud cannot pick up the RB position, a door opens for Small. This isn’t meant to trash Jaymar Johnson, but he hasn’t done much of anything to stand out, so I feel he’s very vulnerable to lose his spot to a training camp invitee.
TE (3): Jim Kleinsasser, Garrett Mills, Visanthe Shiancoe, Mickey Shuler
RB Jeff Dugan, who can and does line up as a TE, gives the Vikings flexibility to only carry two TE’s on the roster, which I think they will continue to do. Kleinsasser and Shiancoe are solid players, and even though no one is guaranteed a roster spot in this day and age, (well, except for Favre and AP) these two are about as safe as anyone on the team. I think Mills gets a push from Shuler, but makes the team.
OL (8): Eddie Amanski, Thomas Austin, Adrian Battles, Patrick Brown, Chris Clark, Ryan Cook, Jon Cooper, Chris Degeare, Matt Hanson, Tommy Hernandez, Anthony Herrera, Steve Hutchinson, Phil Loadholt, Bryant McKinnie, Bill Noethlich, Drew Radovich, John Sullivan, Marlon Wynn
As much of many of you in Viking Nation would like to see Bryant McKinnie play elsewhere in 2010, it isn’t going to happen. The starting five from 2009 are set, Cook is set to be the primary multi-lineman back-up, and I see Cooper returning and the rookie Degeare rounding out the big ugly corps.
DL (9): Jared Allen, Ray Edwards, Fred Evans, Everson Griffin, Letroy Guion, Tremaine Johnson, Jimmy Kennedy, Cedric McKinley, Jayme Mitchell, Mike Montgomery, Brian Robison, Kevin Williams, Pat Williams
Allen, Williams, Williams, and Edwards will be back, obviously. Kennedy and Evans return as the primary backups at DT, and Robison and rookie Everson Griffin are the DE backups. With the suspensions of Williams and Williams hanging over the team, DT Letroy Guion makes the team as well. I don’t see them carrying 9 DL the whole season, but 9 DL coming out of camp almost seems a necessity with the suspensions looming.
LB (6): Jasper Brinkley, Ryan D’Imperio, Heath Farwell, Chad Greenway, Erin Henderson, EJ Henderson, Ben Leber, J Leman, Kenny Onatolu, Nate Triplett
EJ Henderson’s injury is a bit of a wildcard in this roster make up, but I’m going to assume that he can play a significant amount in 2010. So with EJ back, Farwell and Brinkley are the primary backups, and I think Nate Triplett makes the team as a special teams guy. If Henderson can’t go, add Onatolu into the mix. I am eager to see whether or not Leman or D’Imperio make the the squad as special teams guys.
DB (10): Husain Abdullah, Asher Allen, Colt Anderson, Chris Cook, Eric Frampton, Cedric Griffin, Tyrell Johnson, Jamarca Sanford, Benny Sapp, Lito Sheppard, Marcus Sherels, Terrell Skinner, Angelo Williams, Madieu Williams, Antoine Winfield, DeAndre Wright
Winfield, Griffin (when healed), Allen, Cook, Sapp and Sheppard are your starters, nickel, and dime backs. I think Winfield and Sapp start the season with Sheppard and Allen as the nickel/dime backs. When Griffin is healthy, he becomes the starter, and I think Cook gets in the mix as a dime and/or nickel guy by the end of the season, with Sapp and Sheppard fighting for the rest of the snaps. Williams and Johnson are your safeties, with Abdullah and Sanford as the backups.
Special Teams (4): Ryan Longwell, Rhys Lloyd, Chris Kluwe, Cullen Loeffler. Questions?
I understand we’re heavy at DB and DL, but injuries and suspensions really muddy the waters right now, and make it necessary to plus up in those areas right now.
Anyways, things will become clearer the closer we get to training camp, and the injury and suspensions are more clearly defined.