With the Minnesota Vikings’ preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills a mere three days away, the purple have released their first unofficial depth chart of the 2017 season. Let’s take a look at it and see what we have at this point. This is extremely early, but hey. . .it’s something. Players will be listed in the order that they’re shown on the Vikings’ depth chart on the team’s official site.
Quarterback: Sam Bradford, Case Keenum, Taylor Heinicke
I had thought that the reports were saying that Heinicke was getting the bulk of the snaps with the second team, but Keenum is likely ahead of him on the depth chart at this point due to veteran status. I don’t know how surprising it would be if Heinicke won the #2 job outright, but that’s not where he’s listed for now.
Running Back: Dalvin Cook, Jerick McKinnon, Bishop Sankey, Terrell Newby
Latavius Murray, who says he hopes to start practicing here “soon,” is not on the depth chart since he is still on the PUP list. Cook is listed as the starter because, hey, why wouldn’t he be? Sankey apparently had a few impressive runs in Saturday night’s scrimmage. Once Murray gets healthy, however, this depth chart is basically set.
Fullback: C.J. Ham
Will the Vikings keep a fullback on the roster? Ham isn’t competing against other fullbacks here, but rather against Pat Shurmur’s offensive scheme.
Wide Receiver 1: Stefon Diggs, Jarius Wright, Cayleb Jones, Rodney Adams
A mild surprise seeing Jones ahead of Adams right now. I believe Adams is still the favorite to be the kick return man for the team, but with Michael Floyd being out for the first four games of the season, these guys are playing for a roster spot as well.
Wide Receiver 2: Adam Thielen, Laquon Treadwell, Michael Floyd, Isaac Fruechte, Stacy Coley/R.J. Shelton
I’m not sure how they differentiate the two wide receiver depth charts on the Vikings’ site. Since I think Diggs is the team’s #1 WR, I labelled them the way I have. Again, not a lot is set on the depth chart beyond Diggs and Thielen, so these battles will be interesting to watch.
Tight End: Kyle Rudolph, David Morgan, Kyle Carter/Bucky Hodges, Nick Truesdell, Josiah Price
Carter and Hodges are currently shown as being neck-and-neck on the depth chart, but I’d be awfully surprised if Carter beat Hodges out. Then again, the Vikings might end up keeping four tight ends if they decide not to keep Ham at fullback. Morgan has shown that he’s versatile enough to move around and handle that sort of thing if the Vikings want him to.
Left Tackle: Riley Reiff, Rashod Hill, Aviante Collins
We all know the story here. Reiff hasn’t practiced since Day 1 of camp, and Hill gave everyone a scare with his leg issue at Saturday night’s scrimmage. Hopefully Reiff will be able to go before too much longer here, though seeing Hill get an extended run wouldn’t be the worst thing, I don’t think.
Left Guard: Alex Boone, Jeremiah Sirles, Austin Shepherd, Freddie Tagaloa
Not a lot of surprises at this spot. Sirles did step in for Hill on Saturday night after the injury, so he’s apparently on the depth chart at a couple of positions. I’m guessing a lot of linemen are going to have that distinction for the Vikings this year.
Center: Nick Easton, Pat Elflein, Zac Kerin
Easton is ahead of Elflein for now. We’ll have to see how long that lasts. I still think that Elflein ends up with the starting job before Week 1. Easton is the veteran at this point, though, so he’s on top of the depth chart early.
Right Guard: Joe Berger, T.J. Clemmings, Danny Isidora
Isidora has been getting a lot of praise during camp from everything that I’ve read. Clemmings is officially the backup at right guard for now, but it will be interesting to see if Isidora can overtake him.
Right Tackle: Mike Remmers, Willie Beavers, Reid Fragel
Beavers has actually gotten a bit of praise in camp thus far, too, from some of the buzz I’ve seen on social media. Maybe I’ve been a little hard on the Beavers to this point. He might make it yet.
Left Defensive End: Danielle Hunter, Brian Robison, Ifeadi Odenigbo
It’s official. . .Hunter is your starter at defensive end, with Robison moving into a reserve role. Not a surprise, but it’s actually documented somewhere now. Odenigbo is going to be a part of the fight at the bottom of the depth chart.
Defensive Tackle: Tom Johnson, Datone Jones, Will Sutton, Dylan Bradley, Chunky Clements
Frankly, I’m a bit surprised to see Tom Johnson ahead of Datone Jones here. We know that Johnson has outstanding value as a pass rusher, but can he provide enough against the run? This is going to be another interesting one to see play out.
Nose Tackle: Linval Joseph, Shamar Stephen, Jaleel Johnson
A little surprised to see Jaleel Johnson listed at the nose. I thought he was a natural at the 3-technique spot. Then again, I guess the Vikings can’t list all of their defensive tackles at that spot.
Right Defensive End: Everson Griffen, Stephen Weatherly, Tashawn Bower, Sam McCaskill
The Vikings like Weatherly a lot, apparently, as he now projects as Griffen’s backup. they kept teams from poaching him last year by moving him to the active roster, and it looks like they are happy with his progress.
Weak Side Linebacker: Emmanuel Lamur/Edmond Robinson, Elijah Lee
Lamur and Robinson are apparently equal in the race to replace Chad Greenway. That might be the one position on defense that the starter isn’t truly set at as things stand right now.
Middle Linebacker: Eric Kendricks, Kentrell Brothers, Ben Gedeon, Darnell Sankey
Gedeon has apparently gotten some opportunities at the other spots in the linebacker corps as well, though his best position might be in the middle.
Strong Side Linebacker: Anthony Barr, Eric Wilson, Noor Davis
No real drama here. Wilson was a dark horse for a lot of people to make the team, but I haven’t heard a whole lot about him out of Mankato thus far. That can be a good thing or a bad thing, I guess.
Left Cornerback: Trae Waynes, Terence Newman, Marcus Sherels, Tre Roberson, Sam Brown
Waynes is officially the starter here, and I think we’re going to see Newman at a lot of different spots. We’ll probably see him in the slot at times, and we’ll probably see him a bit at safety, too. But Waynes is, officially, the starter as things stand now.
Right Cornerback: Xavier Rhodes, Mackensie Alexander, Jabari Price, Terrell Sinkfield, Horace Richardson
Since the depth chart doesn’t differentiate slot corners from the rest of the position group, Alexander is listed as Rhodes’ backup. Sinkfield has been another player that has gotten good reviews thus far in camp, and his speed could be an asset in other places as well.
Strong Safety: Andrew Sendejo, Jayron Kearse, Jack Tocho
I know there’s a good portion of Vikings fans that want Sendejo replaced, but he’s improved every year and doesn’t appear to be in any real danger of losing his job, barring injury. It would be nice to hear more about Kearse, but we really haven’t thus far this offseason.
Free Safety: Harrison Smith, Anthony Harris, Antone Exum, Jr.
Exum made the biggest headlines for his fight with Laquon Treadwell, but he’s been getting some time in nickel situations. He might still have an uphill fight to make the team, but his versatility has to be considered a plus for him.
Kicker: Kai Forbath, Marshall Koehn
Koehn has the bigger leg, from all reports, but Forbath is the veteran and did a solid enough job last season.
Punter: Ryan Quigley, Taylor Symmank
This might depend on what the Vikings want to emphasize. Symmank reportedly has the bigger leg, but Quigley might be the better directional punter.
Long Snapper: Kevin McDermott
And no, I have no idea who serves as long snapper if something happens to McDermott.
Kick Returner: Marcus Sherels, Rodney Adams, Jerick McKinnon, Isaac Fruechte
Sherels is on top of the kick return depth chart for now, and he does have some experience in the role as he’s fielded some kicks over the years. I’d still expect Adams to overtake him, though.
Punt Returner: Marcus Sherels, Rodney Adams, Stacy Coley, Isaac Fruechte
On the other hand, Sherels really has no chance of losing his job here, barring any sort of injury.
That’s a look at the first Minnesota Vikings depth chart of the year. Any surprises that you can see?