Yesterday, we took a look at some key battles on the offensive side of the ball, and today we conclude our bubble watch by looking at the defense.
Safe: Brian Robison, Corey Wootton, Everson Griffen, Scott Crichton
On the Bubble: Jake Snyder, Tyler Scott, Justin Trattou
Although there's probably some jockeying still available on the offensive line, it seems like the two deep on the defensive line looks pretty set. Griffen and Robison are going to start, free agent signee Wootton and third round draft pick Crichton are going to be the backups.
Safe: Sharrif Floyd, Tom Johnson, Linval Joseph, Fred Evans
On the Bubble: Kheeston Randall, Isame Faciane, Shamar Stephen, Chase Baker
When the Vikings headed to camp, I picked Fred Evans as my surprise vet that would get cut. It could still happen, but when you look at the youth up front in Floyd and Joseph, his decent play as a league average backup, his experience, and his relatively strong camp performance, I don't see him being supplanted by Stephen or Chase Baker.
Safe: Jasper Brinkley, Audie Cole
On the Bubble: Mike Zimmer
As Eric said in his camp roundup that focused on the defense, there's only going to be one Mike Zimmer when the Vikes cut down to 53 players. And it isn't going to be the linebacker.
Safe: Anthony Barr, Gerald Hodges, Chad Greenway,
On the Bubble: Brandon Watts, Michael Mauti, Larry Dean, Dom DeCicco
If there's one position that has the most fluidity to it, I think I would peg the outside linebackers, and it's going to be a pitched battle for one or two roster spots outside of Barr, Hodges, and Greenway. Hodges seems to be the guy more and more in the nickel package, along with Greenway, so I think he's safe. The one thing that guys like Mauti, Dean, and DeCicco have going for them is that they've all been looked at hard on special teams, and Dean has been a pretty good special teams guy for the Vikings in recent seasons. Pay attention to who plays, and how often against the Raiders, and you'll get an idea who has the inside track for the backup spots.
Safe: Captain Munnerlyn, Josh Robinson, Marcus Sherels, Xavier Rhodes, Jabari Price, Derek Cox
On the Bubble: Julian Posey, Robert Steeples, Kendall James, Shaun Prater
It seems that the Josh Robinson renaissance continues, as he has had a relatively strong camp on the outside. Marcus Sherels cannot be killed, and has looked exceptional both in the defensive secondary and on special teams. The big name making a move so far has been Price, and if the Vikings go with six CB's, Derek Cox makes the most sense. He seems like he's adapted well to Zimmer's defense, and he seems to have put his disastrous 2013 season in San Diego behind him.
Safe: Robert Blanton, Jamarca Sanford, Harrison Smith, Kurt Coleman, Chris Crocker
On the Bubble: Mistral Raymond, Antone Exum, Andrew Sendejo, Branden Bishop
There's still a lot of movement in this position group that's possible. Injuries early on in camp have stunted the progression of this group as a unit, and the Vikings worked a lot of guys in. Blanton and Smith seem to be the starters, but Chris Crocker has quickly worked his way into the mix. I don't know that the Vikings will go with five safeties, which makes either Sanford or Coleman on the bubble. I think they will, though, but don't be surprised to see some more movement here.
Keep in mind that this isn't a 53 man roster prediction, just a feeling of who has the best chance to make the team at his position group. We'll learn a lot more after tonight's game, and we'll re-look this in a few days.