Now that the Vikings have completed their third pre-season game, I’m gonna make my last 53-man roster prediction. My only other one was just after the draft, and while there are some changes - most fairly recent - most of it is the same.
I’ll list them by position group, along with why they make it or not, with IR/PUP/Suspended players at the end.
Kirk Cousins: 84 million reasons why he’s a lock as starting QB.
Kyle Sloter: Ok I don’t really think the Vikings will make Sloter the primary backup - but from a merit standpoint, they should. Sloter brings a will to win attitude and energy in every one of his appearances that Siemian is totally lacking. And he’s played better than Siemian in every facet. The third string WRs look better than the second string in part because they have Sloter, and not Siemian, behind center. He deserves the 2nd string spot, Siemian’s experience be damned.
Trevor Siemian: He has gone from mediocre to Ponderesque as pre-season has progressed. I don’t see how the coaching staff can have confidence in him if Cousins went down. You can say it was preseason, and Keenum looked bad last year at the beginning of training camp, but he looked good - previewing his regular season performance- later in preseason. Siemian seems to be moving in the opposite direction.
Peter Pujals : He was always just a camp body, with few reps and never a chance to make the roster. Just happy to have been there.
RUNNING BACK (4)
Dalvin Cook: Last year’s second-round steal is back healthy and looking to make the splash he would have made last year. I’m guessing he’ll start the season with a lighter load, and build from there.
Latavius Murray: a more heavy-duty compliment to Cook, Murray has looked better so far this pre-season, apart from the fumble, and will likely get a heavier load as they ease Cook into the regular season. This will likely be Murray’s last season with the Vikings, and it’s possible he could be traded at some point, although I wouldn’t say the chances are high.
Mike Boone: I’m projecting Boone as the 3rd RB for a couple reasons. He looks to be the better runner among the 3rd RB candidates, with more yards-after-contact, and the Vikings will need to groom a replacement for Murray. Boone is the guy - similar in style to Murray. He’s also been drawing some interest from other teams, so pretty much no chance he makes the practice squad. Should get some special team duties as well.
CJ Ham (FB): Ham has proven a solid blocking back and can make a catch out of the backfield - while also been very good on special teams. His job was never really in doubt.
Roc Thomas: He made a strong case for #3, and I suspect the Vikings will try to get him to the practice squad. In the unlikely event Murray is traded, he’d get a roster spot. Mack Brown: He was the incumbent, but was outplayed by Boone, who looks a more viable replacement for Murray. Johnny Stanton: Tough to have beaten Ham for the FB job, but his slim chance ended when he went to IR, from where he’ll be released.
WIDE RECEIVER (6)
Stefon Diggs: After his big extension, he’ll be on the roster for years to come.
Adam Thielen: Never a doubt about his roster spot.
Laquon Treadwell: His #3 spot wasn’t in doubt either, as he looked good during training camp. Be he’ll need to show more during the regular season to have the Vikings exercise his 5th year option down the road.
Stacy Coley: I’m guessing Coley won’t open the season on the PUP list, and keep a roster spot based on last season and limited action this off/pre-season.
Kendall Wright: Wright just hasn’t shown much for a long-time veteran, but the younger guys haven’t either - DeFilippo seems to like what he’s shown.
Chad Beebe: He was the new WR that showed the most promise.
Jeff Badet: He didn’t have a big role during pre-season games, but he caught everything thrown at him. Good practice squad candidate. Jake Wienike: He has more work to do before he’ll be NFL ready, but I’ll bet the Vikings will be happy get him to their practice squad. Brandon Zylstra: His injury certainly didn’t help, nor did Siemian. But he didn’t do much in the last preseason game either. Korey Robertson: He turned out to be a dud, plain and simple. Didn’t see much action, didn’t do much to earn any more either. Tavarres King: He was largely a no-show in training camp/pre-season due to a leg injury, and didn’t show much otherwise. Having a higher salary cap didn’t help either. Cayleb Jones: will be suspended the first four games, but still not make the roster.
TIGHT END (3)
Kyle Rudolph: No real challenge to his top spot on the TE depth chart, for the long-time incumbent.
David Morgan: One of the best blocking TEs in the league, and recently named a Secret Superstar on offense by PFF for his performance in this role.
Tyler Conklin: He has work to do, but should improve as Flip’s F-back and a more athletic pass-catching TE that can block too.
Blake Bell: The Vikings have to make some choices at the tail end of the roster, and Bell is a casualty. In part because Brian O’Neill can function as a blocking TE too in jumbo packages. Bell didn’t have a particularly good camp, and didn’t do well on special teams either, so that makes the decision to release him easier. Tyler Hoppes: Never a good chance to make the roster, but Hoppes could find his way to the practice squad with Price on IR, and likely to be released.
OFFENSIVE LINE (9)
Riley Reiff: Starting left-tackle. Never any doubt about his roster or starting status.
Mike Remmers: Starting right-guard. Never any doubt about him either.
Brett Jones: I’d say he’s needed more at left guard, and will displace Tom Compton, but could also play center.
Cornelius Edison: Starting center. May or may not continue in that role after Pat Elflein returns from the PUP list. Could lose his roster spot if he doesn’t start.
Rashod Hill: Most likely starting right-tackle. Would be kept on roster as a swing tackle if he lost his starting job in all likelihood.
Brian O’Neill: 2nd round draft pick, backup right-tackle competing for starting job, and jumbo package guy.
Aviante Collins: Backup tackle and guard, also competing for a starting job. Primary backup at left tackle. Collins may be the most improved offensive linemen this preseason/training camp. He’s also had far and away the most preseason snaps of any player on the roster (177 including special teams).
Danny Isidora: Backup guard also competing for a starting spot. Could be out when Elflein returns.
Josh Andrews: Backup center and interior lineman - also competing for a starting spot. Could also be the odd man out on Elflein’s return.
Tom Compton: He got the starting reps, but just didn’t look that good. The trade for Brett Jones may have sealed his fate. Colby Gossett: Didn’t get many reps, but certainly practice squad worthy. JP Quinn: 3rd string center never looked like he could handle NFL nose tackles. Storm Norton: Never competitive for a swing tackle spot. Dieugot Joseph: Improved during preseason, but not enough. Possible practice squad. Kareem Are: Easy come, easy go. Brief experiment that never really had a chance.
Beyond these names, Pat Elflein on the PUP list to start the season, Nick Easton on IR - most likely be released, same with Cedric Lang.
DEFENSIVE LINE (9)
Everson Griffen: Starting right-end.
Sheldon Richardson: Starting 3-tech.
Linval Joseph: Starting nose tackle.
Danielle Hunter: Starting left-end.
Brian Robison: Backup left-end
Jaleel Johnson: Backup nose tackle / 3-tech
Ifeadi Odenigbo: Backup DT / DE - shown improvement and is versatile.
Jayln Holmes: Backup DT / DE, 4th round pick, versatile as well.
Tashawn Bower: Continues to improve as a defensive end, probably replaces Robison next season.
Stephen Weatherly: He got outplayed by the three guys above him, not as versatile as well. David Parry: Not as promising as Jaleel Johnson, or as versatile. Jonathan Wynn: Did okay, but never had much of a chance to make roster. Curtis Cothran: Also had his moments, but never much of a chance either.
Also Ade Aruna on IR.
Anthony Barr: starting SAM linebacker.
Eric Kendricks: starting MIKE linebacker.
Ben Gedeon: starting WILL linebacker, core special teamer.
Eric Wilson: backup linebacker, core special teamer.
Antwione Williams: backup linebacker, played well on special teams.
Devante Downs: a likely practice squad candidate. Mike Needham: Didn’t show enough on special teams to make it. Garret Dooley: Didn’t show enough to get a roster spot. Bret Taylor: Never had much of a chance. Reshard Cliett: Had a few good plays, but not enough to displace anyone above him. Practice squad worthy.
Also, Kentrell Brothers starts the season on the suspended list. Not sure who the odd man out will be when he’s eligible to return after 4 games, and it could be him or Williams.
Xavier Rhodes: starting right corner.
Trae Waynes: starting left corner.
MacKensie Alexander: starting slot corner.
Terence Newman: very experienced veteran backup corner.
Mike Hughes: very promising rookie backup corner.
Holton Hill: promising backup outside corner, coverage improved each preseason game.
Marcus Sherels: His value as a corner was negligible, but the Vikings keep him for now on special teams. Could be cut later on.
Craig James: Showed some promise, but hard to break into this group. Likely practice squad candidate. Trevon Mathis: Wasn’t terrible, but tough group to break into. Horace Richardson: Never much of a chance.
Harrison Smith: starting safety
Andrew Sendejo: starting safety
George Iloka: backup safety, will play special teams and sub-packages too.
Jayron Kearse: backup free safety, core special teamer. Priefer helps punch his ticket.
Jack Tocho: He has starting potential, but not yet. Another year on practice squad. Anthony Harris: Kearse beat him out for the last safety spot after Iloka signed. Coaches may be a little disappointed in his lack of progress. Tray Matthews: didn’t beat out his competition.
I suspect that Iloka will replace Sendejo next season, and Tocho, if he makes the practice squad again, will move up to a backup safety job next season.
K: Daniel Carlson
P: Ryan Quigley
LS: Kevin McDermott
Nick Easton - probably released with an injury settlement.
Hercules Mata’afa - he’ll be kept for next season.
Josiah Price - released from IR at cutdown deadline.
Cedric Lang - released from IR.
Ade Aruna - he’ll be kept for next season.
Johnny Stanton - released from IR.
Kentrell Brothers (4 games), Cayleb Jones (4 games).
PRACTICE SQUAD (10)
Whenever Pat Elflein clears the PUP list, I’m guessing either Edison or Andrews is released, but could possibly be Isidora too. Andrews has the most versatility among them.
I doubt Cayleb Jones makes the roster when he finishes his suspension, and he may be cut at the deadline.
Kentrell Brothers has a better chance to gain a roster spot after his suspension, but that may depend on how comfortable the coaches are with those linebackers on the roster and on practice squad. Brothers didn’t look as good in preseason this year, but has been battling some sort of leg injury.
Marcus Sherels could also be released or traded at some point, depending on how comfortable the coaches are with special teams performance without him. It’s possible that when Brothers returns, Sherels is cut to make room, thereby getting back to the normal number of LBs and CBs the Vikings normally carry on the roster.
Lastly, the final preseason game could likely make a big impact on several final roster spots, particularly at safety, offensive line, and wide receiver, but also linebacker and defensive line. It’s possible it may sway the backup QB competition too. Stay tuned.
Just considering the initial 53-Man roster projection, how many mistakes will there be?
This poll is closed