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Breaking down the Vikings roster

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Some thoughts on the current 53 players

NFL: Preseason-Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

A short while ago, th Minnesota Vikings announced their initial 53 man roster. Let’s take a look.

Offense (25)

QB:

In: Kirk Cousins, Sean Mannion

Out: Jake Browning, Kyle Sloter

Thoughts: I’m surprised the Vikings went with only two QB’s here. I am not surprised at the near-mythological status people gave Sloter and their reaction to his release, because that’s what we do with third string quarterbacks here in Minnesota. Am I kind of bummed they released Sloter? Yeah, I like his attitude, but at the end of the day...he’s third string. I mean when he wins the Super Bowl, look me up and laugh at me, because the Vikings have such a long history of former backups leaving and then leading their team to glory, like Joe We-...I mean Todd Boum-...wait how about Taylor Heini-...yeah, maybe this isn’t the End Of All Things Good And Joyous, after all.

RB:

In: Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison, Mike Boone, Ameer Abdullah

Out: De’Angelo Henderson

Thoughts: Kind of a mild surprise that Abdullah made it. Boone clearly outplayed him in the preseason, and Abdullah seemed like a guy that was going to be shown the door. I still have Boone as RB3, and Abdullah will probably be the primary kick returner.

FB:

In: C.J. Ham

Out: Khari Blasingame

Thoughts: NOOOOOOOOOO! WHY RICK, WHY????? Seriously, when the cuts started coming down, for a time I thought the Vikes were going to only go with three tight ends, and then keep Blasingame. It wasn’t to be, though, and Ham keeps his spot. And I’m totally cool with that, because Ham is a really good football player. I just really liked what I saw with Blasingame this preseason and hopefully, they can get him back on to the practice squad.

WR:

In: Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Bisi Johnson, Chad Beebe

Out: Brandon Zylstra, Dillon Mitchell, Jeff Badet, Davion Davis, Alexander Hollins

Thoughts: The Vikes will almost certainly sign a free agent WR in the coming days, but I will say, they did go with the four best guys on the roster. That’s not necessarily saying a whole lot, as no one past Diggs and Thielen really stood out, other than Johnson the last couple games. If you’re wondering about potential free agents that the Vikings could be eyeing, Demaryius Thomas was released by the Patriots, and Pierre Garcon is a free agent. Old friend Aldrick Robinson was also released by the Panthers earlier today as well. Either way, look for some changes to this position group sooner rather than later. And with Thomas, there’s a history there with Kubiak going back to their Denver days, so this might be something worth keeping an eye on.

TE:

In: Kyle Rudolph, Irv Smith, Jr., Tyler Conklin, Brandon Dillon

Out: Cole Hikutini

PUP: David Morgan

Thoughts: I thought that Hikutini had the edge over Dillon, so let’s call that a mild surprise. Well, at least to me. With Morgan on the PUP, and that’s a minimum of six weeks, Dillon will have an extended opportunity to impress.

OL

In: Garrett Bradbury, Brett Jones, Dakota Dozier, Pat Elflein, Josh Kline, Dru Samia, Rashod Hill, Brian O’Neill, Riley Reiff, Oli Udoh

Out: Cornelius Edison, John Keenoy, Danny Isidora, Aviante Collins, Storm Norton, Nate Wozniak

Thoughts: 10 offensive linemen seems like a lot, but with more roster moves coming, OL seems like a prime spot to make corresponding moves as guys are added elsewhere. Udoh is but isn’t a surprise, if that makes sense. I believe if the Vikes thought Udoh could have been stashed on the practice squad, they would have cut him and kept Collins. But, Collins is hurt, there probably is no way Udoh makes it through waivers, so the Vikings kept Udoh and are playing the long game with him, hoping he can develop in a season or two.

Defense (25)

DE:

In: Danielle Hunter, Everson Griffen, Ifeadi Odenigbo, Stephen Weatherly

Out: Ade Aruna, Stacy Keely, Anree Saint Amour, Karter Schult

Thoughts: Literally zero surprises here. Karter Schult had a nice camp, but just had too big of a hill to climb to get a roster spot.

DT:

In: Jalyn Holmes, Jaleel Johnson, Linval Joseph, Hercules Mata’afa, Shamar Stephen, Armon Watts

Out: Curtis Cothran, Tito Odenigbo

Thoughts: Six defensive tackles seems like a lot, but again, if you consider the fact the Vikings will be making roster moves to balance things out, this seems like a position group that they can use to do that.

LB:

In: Anthony Barr, Kentrell Brothers, Eric Kendricks, Ben Gedeon, Eric Wilson

Out: Cameron Smith, Greer Martini, Devante Downs

Thoughts: I’m surprised they only went with five LB’s, and thought Cam Smith had played well enough to earn a roster spot.

CB:

In: Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes, Mackensie Alexander, Mike Hughes, Kris Boyd, Mark Fields

Out: Craig James, Nate Meadors, Duke Thomas

Thoughts: The Vikes traded for Fields before lunch, and yeah, it was a low cost move (conditional seventh round pick in 2021), but Fields is a bit of a project, albeit a talented one. Yet, you could say that with the guys they didn’t keep, so I’m not seeing the upside here. I mean, you traded for a project that no has to learn the defense, yet let go of a couple other projects that already knew the defense. Maybe Fields has more upside; I don’t know. We’ll see.

S:

In: Harrison Smith, Jayron Kearse, Anthony Harris, Marcus Epps

Out: Derron Smith, Isaiah Wharton

Thoughts: Not a lot of surprises here. I thought all three of Epps, Smith, and Wharton played well at times, but Epps seemed to really come on more in the latter part of camp, so he wins the job.

Special Teams:

In: Austin Cutting, Dan Bailey, Matt Wile

Out: Kaare Vedvik

Thoughts: Oh boy, do I have some thoughts on this. I’m sick of the Vikings chasing their tail on a kicker. They used a fifth round pick to trade for Vedvik when Bailey struggled early in camp, then cut Vedvik three weeks later, after Bailey seemed to figure things out. Bailey won the job, and you can go either way between Wile and Vedvik as a punter as far as I’m concerned. I don’t know if Bailey is the answer, all I want is for the Vikings to quit spending fifth round picks on specialists. Enough already.