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Vikings Training Camp Preview: 53 Man Roster Prediction

Breaking down what few position battles to look for

NFL: Minnesota Vikings-Minicamp
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

When the Minnesota Vikings begin training camp in their new TCO Performance Facility in just over two weeks, expectations will be high. The consensus is that this is one of the most complete rosters in the NFL, on both sides of the ball, and there are just a few roster spots up for grabs.

So as the team gets ready to convene down in Mankato in their Eagan backyard, let’s see if we can’t figure out who’s going to make the final 53 when the team breaks camp and heads...across the street.

Offense (24)

QB (3):

Currently On The Roster: Kirk Cousins, Trevor Siemian, Kyle Sloter, Peter Pujals

Makes The Cut: Cousins, Siemian, Sloter

Buh bye: Pujals

Rationale: This one is about as cut and dry as any position group in the NFL. The Vikings signed Cousins to a massive guaranteed contract, and traded for Siemian to be his backup. Sloter was a pre-season wunderkind with Denver last year and was with the Vikes all last season, so he has a gigantic head start on Pujals.

RB (3):

Currently On The Roster: Mike Boone, Roc Thomas, Dalvin Cook, Mack Brown, Latavius Murray, C.J. Ham, Johnny Stanton

Makes The Cut: Cook, Murray, Ham

Buh bye: Boone, Thomas, Stanton

Rationale: Again, a position group that seems pretty set. With Cook coming back healthy, expect him to get the load of the work, with Murray and Ham being third down and goal line relief.

WR (6):

Currently On The Roster: Chad Beebe, Jeff Badet, Korey Robertson, Jake Wieneke, Tavarres King, Kendall Wright, Brandon Zylstra, Laquon Treadwell, Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Cayleb Jones, Stacy Coley

Makes The Cut: Diggs, Thielen, Treadwell, Coley, Wright, Jones

Buh bye: Beebe, Badet, Robertson, Wieneke, King, Zylstra

Rationale: I struggled with either five or six receivers on the final 53. I went with six because there’s a fair amount of questions after Diggs, Thielen, and free agent acquisition Kendall Wright. Treadwell seems like he’s getting some looks and developing a rapport with QB Granitejaw McDreamy, which is encouraging. But we’ve kind of been hoping for that for three years now, sooooo yeah. I tacked on Coley and Jones, holdovers from last year, but a strong showing by an undrafted free agent like Robertson, Wieneke, or Badet could shake up the last roster spot or two. And I’ll be stunned if at least one of the three UDFA’s doesn’t end up on the practice squad.

TE (3):

Currently On The Roster: Tyler Conklin, Tyler Hoppes, Josiah Price, Kyle Rudolph, David Morgan, Blake Bell

Makes The Cut: Rudolph, Morgan, Conklin

Buh bye: Hoppes, Price, Bell

Rationale: This position group seems fairly straightforward as well. Rudolph and Morgan are the top two returning guys from last year, and Conklin is a big kid taken in the fifth round of the draft. A lot of folks are high on Morgan as the Rudolph heir apparent, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Conklin is the starter once Rudolph’s time in purple has come to an end.

C (1):

Currently On The Roster: Pat Elflein, Cornelius Edison

Makes The Cut: Elflein

Buh bye: Edison

Rationale: Elflein is going to start, and his primary backup will come from elsewhere on the line, more than likely starting LG Nick Easton. I am so confident in my prediction of Elflein beating out Edison that I will wear a Michigan hat and post a picture of me wearing it on social media if Edison is the opening day starting center over Elflein for any reason other than an injury situation.

G (3):

Currently On The Roster: Josh Andrews, Colby Gossett, Chris Gonzalez, Nick Easton, Danny Isidora

Makes The Cut: Easton, Gossett, Isidora

Buh bye: Andrews, Gonzalez

Rationale: Is Mike Remmers a guard or tackle? The Vikes official roster has him listed as a tackle, so that’s where I’ll slot him for now...which is why we need to remember I am an idiot and exercises like this are as pointless as snorting a Tide Pod, or whatever the cool kids are doing these days. Anyway, let’s assume Easton is pretty much a lock on the left side. If you believe Remmers is better suited at RT, then I think Isidora is the primary guy to start at RG, with Gossett, a sixth round pick I really like as an eventual starter, as the primary backup. Even if Remmers does move inside, I still like all three to make the roster.

T (5):

Currently On The Roster: Brian O’Neill, Tom Compton, Cedrick Lang, Riley Reiff, Storm Norton, Dieugot Joseph, Aviante Collins, Rashod Hill, Mike Remmers

Makes The Cut: Reiff, Remmers, Hill, O’Neill, Compton

Buh bye: Lang, Norton, Joseph, Collins

Rationale: Again, the Remmers question looms large here. But like the interior line, regardless of where he plays, I like these five to make the final 53. If you do move Remmers to G, a 4/4 split between guards and tackles works out nicely here, too. Barring injury, Reiff is a lock on the left side, and it’s either Hill or Remmers on the right side, depending. Tom Compton seems poised to be the guy that will move in to the old Joe Berger ‘super sub’ role before Berger became a full time starter, and will become the primary backup at the two guard positions and LT. Second round pick O’Neill is a guy the Vikes would like to groom for a year and then compete for a starting job in 2019.

Defense and Special Teams (29)

DT (4):

Currently On The Roster: Curtis Cothran, Jalyn Holmes, Sheldon Richardson, Linval Joseph, Jaleel Johnson, David Parry

Makes The Cut: Holmes, Richardson, Joseph, Johnson

Buh bye: Cothran

Rationale: Another position group that seems fairly open and shut. Joseph, Richardson, and Johnson all seem like mortal locks. The only upset I could see is if Cothran really outperforms Holmes in camp, as Holmes is moving from DE to DT. For one, Penn State has a hard time beating Ohio State at anything football related, so whatever (waah waah). Seriously, even if Holmes does struggle, he’s a fourth round pick, and the Vikings really favor draft picks as opposed to undrafted free agents. Still, a strong camp showing by Cothran probably punches his ticket to the practice squad, minimum.

DE (5):

Currently On The Roster: Ade Aruna, Jonathan Wynn, Everson Griffen, Brian Robison, Stephen Weatherly, Danielle Hunter, Tashawn Bower, Ifeadi Odenigbo

Makes The Cut: Griffen, Hunter, Robison, Weatherley, Odenigbo

Buh bye: Aruna, Wynn, Bower

Rationale: Calling a minor upset with Odenigbo making the roster over Tashawn Bower, who on the active roster last year. The Vikings seemed really high on Odenigbo last year, a seventh round pick who hurt his foot in a freak accident on a swimming pool gate and could never really compete for a spot in training camp. He spent the year on the practice squad, and I think he makes the roster. I really like Ade Aruna for the practice squad from this group.

LB (6):

Currently On The Roster: Mike Needham, Garret Dooley, Devante Downs, Brett Taylor, Anthony Barr, Eric Wilson, Antwione Williams, Eric Kendricks, Reshard Cliett, Kentrell Brothers, Ben Gedeon

Makes The Cut: Barr, Kendricks, Gedeon, Brothers, Downs, Dooley

Buh bye: Needham, Downs, Taylor, Wilson, Williams, Cliett,

Rationale: Barr, Kendricks, Gedeon, and Brothers, probably even with a DUI, are all back. Downs is a late round draft pick that GM Rick Spielman talked up, so I think he replaces Emmanuel Lamur on special teams. If the Vikes go with six on the roster, which they have in recent seasons, let’s give the nod to the UDFA from Wisconsin. Cliett would seem like the favorite, but he’s been with six or seven teams in just a couple seasons, and hasn’t been able to stick with any. He’s no lock.

CB (7):

Currently On The Roster: Holton Hill, Mike Hughes, Craig James (not the former NFL running back and TV analyst Craig James that certainly did not murder five hookers while at SMU), Trevon Mathis, Jack Tocho, Xavier Rhodes, Horace Richardson, Trae Waynes, Mackensie Alexander, Terence Newman, Tray Matthews, Marcus Sherels

Makes The Cut: Rhodes, Waynes, Alexander, Hughes, Hill, Newman, Sherels

Buh bye: James, Mathis, Tocho, Richardson, Matthews

Rationale: Does seven CB’s seem excessive? Yes, but I think there are six legitimately good CB’s...and then you have return specialist Marcus Sherels. I have not come here to bury Sherels, but to praise him. Because Sherels will still be on the roster in 2044, and our children, and our children’s children, will be proclaiming that THIS will finally be the year Sherels gets cut.

And they will be wrong, too. Also, I like Newman rotating more in at safety, which the Vikings were experimenting with some this past off-season, especially when they usually carry five safeties and they don’t have five currently on the roster. This constitutes the only serious analysis of the cornerback position, kids.

S (4):

Currently On The Roster: Harrison Smith, Anthony Harris, Jayron Kearse, Andrew Sendejo,

Makes The Cut: Smith, Harris, Kearse, Sendejo

Buh bye: No one

Rationale: They’ll need all these bodies for depth and special teams. Barring a lot of roster shuffling during training camp, all four of these guys stay.

ST (3):

Currently On The Roster: Kevin McDermott (LS), Daniel Carslon (K), Kai Forbath (K), Ryan Quigley (P)

Makes The Cut: McDermott, Carlson, Quigley

Buh bye: Forbath

Rationale: McDermott and Quigley are the only players at their respective positions on the roster, so I’ll go out on a limb and say they’ll make the team. As to kicker, don’t draft a kid in the fifth round and then not keep him, and Carslon has been more consistent than Forbath in off-season workouts, so once again Daniel-sahn Crane Kicks Cobra Kai.