With off-season, Mankato, and three pre-season games completed, the Vikings roster is taking shape. Of course most of it was set before the first round of OTAs, but every day that passes brings more clarity in terms of who makes the Vikings 53-man roster, and who does not. Here is how it looks now.
As a reference, last year when the Vikings made the cut to 53, they had 2 QBs, 3 RBs, 1 FB, 4 TEs, 9 OL (4 OTs, 5 G/Cs), 4 DEs, 4 DTs, 7 LBs, 6 CBs, 4 Ss, and 3 ST players on the roster.
I would not be surprised if the Vikings went with 2 QBs again (last year may have been impacted by Bridgewater and Heinicke being out), but also 10 OL and only 3 TEs (or 4 TEs and no FB), and only 6 LBs, but 5 DEs, based on the quality of players at a those positions, and likelihood of getting them to practice squad.
Keep in mind also that Teddy Bridgewater, Michael Floyd and Shariff Floyd will not count toward the 53-man roster, due to PUP, suspension, and IR, respectively. That will allow the Vikings to keep two ‘extra’ guys on the roster- one for 4 weeks and another for 7 weeks, if Bridgewater is off the PUP list at that time.
Sam Bradford - No surprise here.
Case Keenum - Keenum not only won the backup competition with Heinicke, he looks really good as a backup. Should be extended from his one-year deal.
Taylor Heinicke - Practice squad. He still has one year of eligibility it seems. Leidner’s signing may have been more precautionary given Heinicke’s rib injury.
Teddy Bridgewater - PUP list. He will not count toward the 53-man roster until he gets off, which won’t be until week 7 at the earliest.
Mitch Leidner - Cut.
Dalvin Cook - he’ll be the starter and get most of the reps.
Latavius Murray - he’ll be the backup and situational guy.
Jerick McKinnon - he’ll get some rotational reps, and may surprise on the upside.
CJ Ham - he makes it as a FB/utility guy, and special teams player.
Bronson Hill - cut.
Bishop Sankey - IR
Terrell Newby - practice squad.
Not much surprise here, Ham is a bubble player, and he may be a casualty when other offensive players come back on the roster.
Wide Receiver Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Laquon Treadwell, Jarius Wright, Michael Floyd, Stacy Coley
Stefon Diggs - starting WR outside
Adam Thielen - starting WR outside, but moving to slot
Laquon Treadwell - 3rd WR, replacing Thielen outside in 3WR sets
Jarius Wright - backup slot receiver
Stacy Coley - backup outside receiver, beat out Rodney Adams for that job.
Michael Floyd - Suspended first 4 games, won’t count on roster during that time. Backup outside receiver, situational guy too.
Rodney Adams - practice squad.
Moritz Boehringer - practice squad. I believe as an international player he doesn’t count against the practice squad maximum, so they keep him for that reason.
Isaac Fruechte - cut.
RJ Shelton - cut.
Cayleb Jones - cut.
I think the Vikings go with 5 WRs initially until Floyd gets back, using the roster spot to keep another player at a different position.
Riley Reiff - starting left tackle, when healthy.
Alex Boone - maybe he starts, maybe he doesn’t, at left guard.
Nick Easton - starting center or left guard.
Pat Elflein - starting center or interior backup.
Joe Berger - starting right guard.
Mike Remmers - starting right tackle.
Rashod Hill - backup left tackle, swing tackle.
Danny Isidora - backup right guard
Willie Beavers - backup right tackle
Jeremiah Sirles - backup tackle / left guard
Aviante Collins - practice squad. He may beat out Sirles for a roster spot too, based on the reps he’s been getting recently.
TJ Clemmings - Cut.
Reid Fragel - Cut or practice squad.
Freddie Tagaloa - practice squad.
Zac Kerin - cut or practice squad.
Austin Shepherd - cut.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Vikings kept 10 offensive linemen on the roster initially, nor would I be surprised if Alex Boone was traded. I suspect Mike Remmers is seen as a stop-gap at right-tackle, so the Vikings want to have developmental guys there to take over in two years, maybe sooner. Overall depth has improved a lot, if not the top-end talent of the starters.
Kyle Rudolph - starting TE.
David Morgan - situational blocking TE
Bucky Hodges - situational receiving TE
Nick Truesdell - backup TE, edges out Kyle Carter for the last TE spot.
Josiah Price - cut.
Overall, that gives the Vikings 25 offensive roster spot positions initially. I’m guessing that when Michael Floyd comes back from suspension, they make room by moving Truesdell to practice squad. When Teddy Bridgewater comes back, my guess is that CJ Ham may be moved to practice squad.
Everson Griffen - starting right defensive end.
Danielle Hunter - starting left defensive end.
Brian Robison - backup left defensive end.
Tashawn Bower - backup right defensive end.
Stephen Weatherly - backup defensive end
Ifeadi Odenigbo - practice squad, but may not make it there.
Sam McCaskill - Cut or practice squad.
I think the Vikings go with 5 defensive ends of the roster, and Weatherly gets the nod over Odenigbo, in part due to special teams use. Potentially losing Odenigbo if he doesn’t make the practice squad is the price for keeping Robison.
Linval Joseph - starting nose tackle.
Tom Johnson - 3-technique.
Jaleel Johnson - 3-technique.
Shamar Stephen - backup nose tackle
Dylan Bradley - practice squad.
Will Sutton - cut.
Datone Jones - cut.
Chunky Clements - cut or practice squad.
Shariff Floyd - IR
I believe the Vikings will stay with 4 defensive tackles on the roster. I expect Jaleel Johnson to become the starter at 3-technique at some point. He clearly looks better than veterans Datone Jones and Will Sutton. Tom Johnson may as well, but the quicker he moves to backup 3-technique the better.
Linebacker: Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks, Ben Gedeon, Kentrell Brothers, Edmond Robinson
Anthony Barr - starting strong-side linebacker.
Eric Kendricks - starting middle linebacker.
Ben Gedeon - starting weak-side linebacker.
Edmond Robinson - backup strong-side linebacker
Kentrell Brothers - backup middle linebacker, special teams
Eric Wilson - backup weak-side linebacker
Elijah Lee - practice squad.
Emmanuel Lamur - cut.
Noor Davis - cut or practice squad.
Shaan Washington - cut.
I think the Vikings will continue to keep 6 linebackers on the roster, and that Gedeon wins the base/WLB spot competition. Eric Wilson also played well enough to beat Elijah Lee for the last linebacker spot, and has also played special teams, along with Kentrell Brothers. Emmanuel Lamur, not having won a starting job, is too expensive a backup and becomes a salary cap cut. I reality I think Edmond Robinson is the main backup at all LB spots.
Xavier Rhodes - starting left cornerback.
Trae Waynes - starting right cornerback
Terence Newman - starting slot cornerback
MacKenzie Alexander - backup slot cornerback
Marcus Sherels - backup outside cornerback, punt returner/special teams
Jabari Price - backup cornerback
Terrell Sinkfield - practice squad.
Horace Richardson - cut.
Tre Roberson - cut.
Vikings keep 6 cornerbacks on the roster, as usual. Newman starts at slot corner, as Alexander is not ready to start there yet. But Newman also backs up both outside cornerback spots, leaving either Alexander, Price or possibly Antone Exum to play slot cornerback when Newman is not.
Harrison Smith - starting free safety.
Andrew Sendejo - starting strong safety.
Jayron Kearse - backup safety.
Antone Exum - backup safety / slot CB
Anthony Harris - cut.
Jack Tocho - practice squad.
Vikings keep 4 safeties on the roster, and Exum beats out Harris for the last spot based on his versatility to play slot cornerback as well as safety.
Overall, that makes 25 defensive roster spots, which along with the 25 roster spots on offense makes 50, leaving three for special teams.
Kicker: Kai Forbath. Close competition, but tie goes to the incumbent here.
Punter: Taylor Symmank. He edges out Quigley by averaging just a few more yards.
Long-snapper: Kevin McDermott.
Kick returner: Jerick McKinnon.
Punt returner: Marcus Sherels.
Overall, that gets the roster to 53, but with the practice squad still up-in-the-air, in part as it’s hard to know if some guys make it through waivers or not. And with one pre-season game remaining, there could still be some surprises on the margin, but I think at least 50 of the 53 are pretty well set.