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A Look at the 90-Man Vikings Roster

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The Daily Norseman examines every position group of the new 90-man Vikings roster.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the Vikings have signed all but one player of their incoming rookie class and made some additional roster moves, the first official 90-man Vikings roster is set. And just in time too, since the Vikings rookie camp is scheduled for this weekend.  With the roster finally settled, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the following 90 guys will be the ones the Vikings bring to camp, because they could still end up making some moves in free agency especially after they get a look at the rookies they plan on bringing in this weekend. But what follows is an analysis of the current roster with too soon projections for every position group.

Quarterbacks

53-Man Roster: Teddy Bridgewater, Shaun Hill, Mike Kafka
Practice Squad: Taylor Heinicke
Cut: None

The Vikings finally have a "normal" looking quarterback roster.  They have a young, emerging starter in Teddy Bridgewater, an experienced veteran backup in Shaun Hill and a bit of a competition for the #3 job.  I give the edge to Mike Kafka for that #3 position based on experience, but if draft-twitter hype surrounding Taylor Heinicke is to be believed, he should find his way onto the practice squad at the very least.

Running Backs

53-man Roster: Adrian Peterson, Jerick Mckinnon, Matt Asiata
Practice Squad: Dominique Williams
Cut: DuJuan Harris, Joe Banyard, Zach Line, Blake Renaud

After all the rumor and speculation about Peterson being traded this offseason, it appears he'll be playing for the Vikings barring something really unusual.  I expect last year's starters (Mckinnon and Asiata) to return and backup Peterson.  While the team signed DuJuan Harris and also have last year's practice squad player Dominque Williams, both players seem more like Mckinnon replacement options.  Harris and Williams are nearly the same size as Mckinnon and both are more speedster backs in the mold of Mckinnon.  Therefore, I don't expect either one to crack the roster, but at least Williams should have another year of eligibility left on the practice squad.  Joe Banyard could be a dark horse candidate to over-take Asiata for a roster spot, but I believe his practice squad eligibility is close to being up meaning it's time to either make the roster or move on.  With Asiata's skill in pass protection, as a pass catcher and goal-line back, his versatility earns him yet another roster spot.  I tried to find room for Zach Line on the team, but with the fullback position being practically non-existent in Turner's offense, I find it really odd that we somehow have two of them coming to camp.

Wide Receivers

53-man Roster: Mike Wallace, Charles Johnson, Jarius Wright, Cordarrelle Patterson, Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen
Practice Squad: Gavin Lutman, Jordan Leslie
Cut: Kain Colter, DaVaris Davis, Donte Foster

The wide receiver corp is deep with no less than eleven guys on the 90-man roster.  Last year the Vikings only kept five wide receivers, but they could easily keep six this year if they wanted to.  The top four starters are easy projections, but after that it gets murky fast.  I give Stefon Diggs the benefit of the doubt as the fifth receiver since the Vikings invested a mid-round draft pick on him, but it's a coin toss between him and Adam Thielen until we see them in action.  I projected Lutman to the practice squad based on sheer size alone, and Leslie comes in with high upside and hype as an undrafted free agent.  Donte Foster and Cain Colter are practice squad holdovers from last year, and either one could find their way there again.

Tight Ends

53-man Roster: Kyle Rudolph, Rhett Ellison, Chase Ford, Mycole Pruitt
Practice Squad: None
Cut: Brandon Bostick

I think it's a no-brainer that Kyle Rudolph and Rhett Ellison make the team.  I really like Chase Ford as he has the size and hands to be a good #2 tight end, especially in the red zone.  Norv Turner spoke highly of Chase Ford last year so I have him making the roster again.  I'm a little mystified as to why the Vikings drafted Mycole Pruitt, but maybe he's added insurance in case Rudolph can't stay healthy.  The Vikings could have room to roster four tight ends, and with Rudolph's injury history that would probably be a good idea.  I have a hard time seeing how Brandon Bostick makes the roster though.

Offensive Line

53-man Roster: Matt Kalil, Joe Berger, John Sullivan, Brandon Fusco, Phil Loadholt, T.J. Clemmings, David Yankey, Tyrus Thompson, Austin Shepherd
Practice Squad: Babatunde Aiyegbusi, Zac Kerin
Cut: Tom Farniok, Jesse Somsel, Bobby Vardaro, Mike Harris, Carter Bykowski

The offensive line is perhaps the least settled position group on the team.  We're still not sure who will start at left guard between Joe Berger or David Yankey (or a rookie?) and there are six rookies without a clear position designation (simply "OL").  But the Vikings seem committed to improving this unit as they are bringing in sixteen (!) offensive lineman to camp.  I really have no idea how it shakes down, but I continue to maintain that Joe Berger has an edge over David Yankey based on experience and his relatively high level of play last year.  I projected Vikings draft picks to make the roster over undrafted free agents.

Defensive Tackle

53-man Roster: Linval Joseph, Shariff Floyd, Tom Johnson, Shamar Stephen, B.J. Dubose
Practice Squad: Isame Faciane
Cut: None

We actually have some pretty good depth at defensive tackle, especially after re-signing Tom Johnson.  Shamar Stephen flashed a little as a rookie too, which makes it difficult for B.J. Dubose and Isame Faciane to crack the final roster.  With the team letting Corey Wooton go (who was technically listed as a DT), that makes room for 6th round pick B.J. Dubose who has position flexibility. Faciane finds his way to the practice squad once again.

Defensive End

53-man Roster: Everson Griffen, Brian Robison, Scott Crichton, Danielle Hunter
Practice Squad: None
Cut: Leon Mackey, Caesar Rayford, Justin Trattou

The team only kept four defensive ends last year and I expect the same setup this year.  I think Griffen and Robison open the season as starters, but I would not be surprised to see Danielle Hunter overtake Robison by the end of the season.

Linebacker

53-man Roster: Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks, Chad Greenway, Gerald Hodges, Brandon Watts, Edmond Robinson, Audie Cole
Practice Squad:
Brian Peters
Cut:
Josh Kaddu, Casey Matthews, Michael Mauti

This is a tough one to project.  I think it's safe to say that Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks slot in as starters, and probably Chad Greenway for one more year.  After that it's really anyone's guess.  Zimmer tends to like faster linebackers, which is why I gave the nod to Brandon Watts and Edmond Robinson.  I'm not sure what to do with Audie Cole, but I guess he's a backup and special teamer?  Maybe the team will value Michael Mauti's special teams contributions and he makes the cut over Brandon Watts or Audie Cole, or maybe the team really likes Casey Matthews (brother of Clay Matthews).  If offensive line is the least settled position group, then linebacker is the second least settled.  This projection is a total shot in the dark.

Cornerback

53-man Roster: Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes, Captain Munnerlyn, Josh Robinson, Marcus Sherels
Practice Squad:
None
Cut:
Jalil Carter, Justin Coleman, Terence Newman, Shaun Prater, Jabari Price, DeMarcus Van Dyke

Like wide receiver, the team is bringing in a lot of cornerbacks to training camp with eleven total.  The top four guys are easy to project, but after that it could be a toss-up between Marcus Sherels, Jabari Price and Shaun Prater.  I give Sherels the edge thanks to his superb punt return ability.  I don't think the 38-year Terence Newman makes the roster and I think he was brought in much the same way that Crocker was last year at safety: to teach the young DBs how to play in Mike Zimmer's scheme.

Safety

53-man Roster: Harrison Smith, Robert Blanton, Taylor Mays, Antone Exum
Practice Squad:
Anthony Harris
Cut:
Andrew Sendejo

As much flack as Robert Blanton got at the end of last year, I still maintain that he had an underrated season and I am projecting him as the starter once again next to Harrison Smith.  But Taylor Mays or Antone Exum could easily give him a run for his money.  I think the Vikings like Anthony Harris and hope to stash him on their practice squad.  Somehow Andrew Sendejo has managed to eke out a 5-year career in the NFL, but with the development of Exum and the acquisition of Mays, Sendejo is on the outside looking in.

Special Teams

53-man Roster: Blair Walsh, Jeff Locke, Kevin McDermott
Practice Squad: None
Cut: Cullen Loeffler

The Vikings brought in long snapper Kevin McDermott, Jeff Locke's former teammate at UCLA for a reason.  I believe that reason is to replace Cullen Loeffler who has seemingly declined over the past couple of years.  Other than that, I think we're stuck with 5th round draft pick Jeff Locke for another season.

There you have it ladies and gentleman the first 90-man Vikings roster of the 2015 season.  Who do you see making the final 53-man roster?