Ladies and gentlemen, we have officially made it through the offseason. Training Camp reporting day is today, and practices start tomorrow.
For a while, I wasn’t sure if we were going to get there, either.
I know that Ted did a 53-man roster projection a few weeks ago, but I wanted to take my own shot at it. As we’ve discussed in the past, there aren’t really a whole lot of roster spots that are up for grabs this year, so this might not be as tough as it’s been in years past. Given what the team has right now, this is what I think the roster will look like after the final cutdown. In any case, here we go.
Quarterback (3 + 1)
Starter: Sam Bradford
Backups: Case Keenum, Taylor Heinicke
Physically Unable to Perform: Teddy Bridgewater
Cut: Wes Lunt
I know we’ve seen a lot of Teddy lately, but I still think the plan is going to be for him to start the season on the PUP List and see how he’s progressed after the first six weeks of the regular season. Whether anyone likes it or not, Bradford is your starter as it stands right now, and Keenum is a capable enough backup where things shouldn’t be a complete disaster if he has to take over for a week or two.
Running Back (3)
Starter: Latavius Murray (for now)
Backups: Dalvin Cook, Jerick McKinnon
Cut: C.J. Ham, Terrell Newby, Bishop Sankey
Barring any injuries, this position is about as set as set gets. Murray might start out the season as the starter, but I’m guessing Cook will overtake him in short order. After all, even Adrian Peterson started out as a backup. Like Ted said in his projection, if the Vikings were inclined to keep a fullback, Ham would be the guy, but I’m not sure if Pat Shurmur is inclined to do that.
Wide Receiver (6 + 1)
Starters: Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen
Backups: Laquon Treadwell, Jarius Wright, Rodney Adams, Stacy Coley
Suspended: Michael Floyd
Cut: Moritz Böhringer, Isaac Fruechte, Cayleb Jones, R.J. Shelton
I think that Adams winds up being the primary kick returner and a guy that gets a couple of designed touches a game in the “Cordarrelle Patterson” role for this offense, so he gets in. I’m also curious to see if Jarius Wright manages to get out of the Witness Protection Program this season, or if he ends up being trade bait. If he does get traded, that could open the door for someone else to make the squad. It’s also going to be interesting to see what the team does when Floyd returns from his Kombucha-induced vacation.
Tight End (3)
Starter: Kyle Rudolph
Backups: David Morgan, Bucky Hodges
Cut: Kyle Carter, Josiah Price, Nick Truesdell
Pat Shurmur loves the tight end in his offenses, but I’m not sure if I can see a fourth one sliding onto the roster here. I’ve stated on numerous occasions that I’m irrationally excited to see Bucky Hodges in action, since I think he can be an immediate red zone contributor.
Offensive Line (10)
Starters: Riley Reiff, Alex Boone, Pat Elflein, Joe Berger, Mike Remmers
Backups: Aviante Collins, Nick Easton, Rashod Hill, Danny Isidora, Jeremiah Sirles
Cut: Willie Beavers, T.J. Clemmings, Reid Fragel, Zac Kerin, Freddie Tagaloa, Austin Shepherd
This year, it appears that we’re finally going to see the sort of Training Camp battles for offensive line spots that we were expecting to see last year. I think the starters are fairly set, and I’d be shocked if Elflein wasn’t the starter at center over Easton in Week 1. The Vikings didn’t take him in the third round to sit him. The backups I’ve picked offer versatility, and I think that Collins is going to be one of the few. . .if not the only. . .undrafted free agent that makes this team this year. The team is trying Clemmings at guard, but at this point I think he might be too broken to salvage after a couple of disastrous seasons. I wouldn’t be surprised if I was wrong on a lot of the backups. . .I think Easton and Sirles are locks, but the other three backup spots are really up for grabs, though I like Isidora a lot.
Defensive Line (9+1)
Starters: Everson Griffen, Datone Jones, Linval Joseph, Danielle Hunter
Backups: Brian Robison, Will Sutton, Jaleel Johnson, Stephen Weatherly, Ifeadi Odenigbo
Physically Unable to Perform: Sharrif Floyd
Cut: Tashawn Bower, Dylan Bradley, Chunky Clements, Tom Johnson, Sam McCaskill, Shamar Stephen
As we all know, the Vikings have a ton of talent on their defensive front, but there should still be some interesting battles. I think now that he’s back at the right position that Jones will claim the starting spot next to Joseph at tackle. He’s on a one-year deal and will finally be in the right spot, so he could end up having a big year. It seems weird listing Robison as a backup, but this season that’s where he’s going to be thanks to Hunter’s emergence. It also felt weird to say that I don’t think Tom Johnson makes the team, but he’s not getting any younger and he’s coming off of an injury. It’s going to be interesting to see some of the battles in camp for those bottom few spots. Teams across the NFL are going to be anxiously waiting to see who the Vikings cut from this group, because they’re going to lose some talented players.
Starters: Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks, Edmond Robinson
Backups: Kentrell Brothers, Ben Gedeon, Emmanuel Lamur
Cut: Elijah Lee, Shaan Washington, Eric Wilson
I think that Robinson is going to get every opportunity to take Chad Greenway’s old spot, and I think he’s going to grab it over Lamur. I didn’t want to put Elijah Lee on the cut list because I really like him, but Brothers is too good on special teams and I’m pretty sure Gedeon makes it. I don’t know if it would surprise me to see Lee make the team over Lamur, but that’s another one we’re going to have to keep an eye on.
Starters: Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes
Backups: Mackensie Alexander, Terence Newman, Tre Roberson, Marcus Sherels
Cut: Jabari Price, Horace Richardson, Terrell Sinkfield
The nickel spot is going to be one of the more intriguing battles of camp. Is Alexander ready to take over after a rough rookie season, or is Newman going to end up taking over the role with the Vikings hoping that this isn’t the year Father Time finally catches him? Sherels, as we’ve established, is never getting cut, ever. The sixth corner spot is going to be an interesting one. I think Roberson makes it because of his athleticism and the fact that he has a lot of room to develop, but he could just as easily be a practice squad guy again. But, I’ll put him on the roster for now.
Starters: Harrison Smith, Andrew Sendejo
Backups: Anthony Harris, Jayron Kearse
Cut: Antone Exum, Jr., Jack Tocho
Tocho is another guy I like a lot, and would like to think that he’ll be a practice squad guy if he doesn’t make the team. Smith and Sendejo are pretty much set, barring an injury. Harris is someone that I would love to see get more of a shot, but I’m not sure if he’s going to get the opportunity. Hopefully Kearse can translate more of his freakish (for a safety) size and athletic ability into more of a role this year.
Special Teams (3)
Starters: Kai Forbath (K), Taylor Symmank (P), Kevin McDermott (LS)
Cut: Marshall Koehn, Ryan Quigley
Forbath performed well enough last year in the wake of Blair Walsh’s dismissal to warrant a full-time gig. I’m not really sure if there’s a favorite in the punter battle between Quigley and Symmank, but with all other things being equal, I’d be inclined to take a younger guy over a veteran. McDermott is the team’s only long snapper as it stands right now, so there you go.
Practice Squad Projection
- QB Wes Lunt
- RB C.J. Ham
- WR Moritz Böhringer
- OL Willie Beavers
- OL Freddie Tagaloa
- DL Dylan Bradley
- DL Tashawn Bower
- LB Elijah Lee
- CB Horace Richardson
- S Jack Tocho
This is based solely on players that I have the Vikings cutting in this scenario. Obviously they’d be looking around at who other teams cut to potentially add to the practice squad, but there’s plenty of talent among the guys they’re cutting to make a solid practice squad, in my opinion.
Again, this is just one man’s projection of a 53-man. . .well, a 53-plus-3-man. . .roster for your Minnesota Vikings. Starting today, we’re finally going to get a chance to see how it all works out.