We know that the Minnesota Vikings have a lot of talent on both sides of the football, but when it came to one of ESPN’s latest projects, they couldn’t land anyone in the starting lineup.
Behind the great E$PN paywall, Bill Barnwell set about making the NFL’s “perfect roster.” The goal is to create the best possible 53-man roster within the confines of the salary cap. Here are the rules that Barnwell placed on himself:
1. Team restraints. We'll need to find at least one player -- but no more than three players -- from each of the 32 NFL teams.
2. A limit on rookie deals. Last year's playoff teams had an average of five players from the 2014 draft, six from the 2015 draft and nine from the 2016 draft. So will our team. We'll also have four undrafted free agents who have yet to hit unrestricted free agency.
3. Rookies! Our team will have seven rookies, with one player taken from each round of this year's draft. The remaining 22 players will have to be veterans who are not on their first contract.
4. Special teams. As tempting as it is to fill a team with big-play threats and situational contributors, real teams fill out the back of their roster with players who contribute on special teams. Our team will do the same.
The Vikings did get the maximum of three players on the roster, but none of them found their way into the starting lineup.
The first one is quarterback Case Keenum, who makes the team as a backup quarterback. Keenum is technically the third-stringer in this scenario, behind Tom Brady (who is surprisingly affordable at $14 million) and Dak Prescott. Barnwell calls Keenum a “totally acceptable” third quarterback, which I guess is a good thing.
Next, to no one’s surprise, there’s defensive end Danielle Hunter. Hunter isn’t a starter on this team, either. . .which sounds bad until you consider that the starting defensive ends are J.J. Watt and Joey Bosa. I’m sure people could argue with that, but I’m not going to. Not yet, anyway.
The third is a player that’s a defensive backup for Minnesota as well in defensive tackle Tom Johnson. Barnwell points out that Johnson is one of just 11 players with 20 quarterback knockdowns in each of the past two seasons, and slots him in as a backup behind Aaron Donald and Brandon Williams.
I can’t share the entire article here, obviously, but I’m sure if you scour the internet enough you can figure out who all of the members of the team were. But the Vikings appear to be so deep that even their backups can serve as outstanding depth for what at least one analyst deems a “perfect” NFL roster.