With the start of the 2021 NFL season inching closer for the Minnesota Vikings, the team has released their first depth chart of the regular season, and there are a couple of surprises on it.
Let’s take a look at what the team has put out as shown on the team’s official website. The first name listed at each position is your starter, with the backups listed in order after them.
Left Defensive End - Danielle Hunter, Stephen Weatherly
Right Defensive End - D.J. Wonnum, Everson Griffen, Patrick Jones II
Nose Tackle - Michael Pierce, Armon Watts, James Lynch
Defensive Tackle - Dalvin Tomlinson, Sheldon Richardson
Strong Side Linebacker - Anthony Barr, Blake Lynch, Ryan Connelly
Middle Linebacker - Eric Kendricks, Troy Dye
Weak Side Linebacker - Nick Vigil, Chazz Surratt
Cornerback 1 - Patrick Peterson, Bashaud Breeland
Cornerback 2 - Mackensie Alexander, Kris Boyd
Cornerback 3 - Harrison Hand, Cameron Dantzler
Safety 1 - Harrison Smith, Xavier Woods
Safety 2 - Josh Metellus, Camryn Bynum
A couple of thoughts on the defense here. . .
- The one starting position that actually had a battle during Training Camp was won by the second-year man, D.J. Wonnum. He’s beaten out Stephen Weatherly for the right to be the other defensive end across from Danielle Hunter. At this point, that’s probably a good thing, given that Wonnum has a lot more upside than Weatherly does. Here’s hoping he can keep building on what he showed as a rookie.
- How far has Cameron Dantzler’s star fallen? After a strong finish to the end of last season, he’s not CB1. . .or 2. . .or 3. . .or 4. As it stands right now, he’s CB5 at best. I’m not sure if anyone expected that. I know I didn’t. Hopefully he’ll get his mojo back at some point.
And now the other side of the ball.
Quarterback - Kirk Cousins, Kellen Mond
Running Back - Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison
Fullback - C.J. Ham
Wide Receiver 1 - Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen
Wide Receiver 2 - K.J. Osborn, Ihmir Smith-Marsette
Wide Receiver 3 - Dede Westbrook
Tight End - Tyler Conklin, Brandon Dillon, Chris Herndon, Ben Ellefson
Left Tackle - Rashod Hill, Christian Darrisaw
Left Guard - Ezra Cleveland
Center - Garrett Bradbury, Mason Cole
Right Guard - Oli Udoh, Wyatt Davis
Right Tackle - Brian O’Neill, Blake Brandel
Thoughts on the offense. . .
- I’m assuming that Westbrook is at the bottom of the wide receiver depth chart at this point due to him still recovering from his ACL tear. He’ll be contributing soon enough, but that’s where he is for now.
- The newly-acquired Chris Herndon is behind Brandon Dillon on the depth chart, but again I’m guessing that’s because of a lack of familiarity with the offense. I think he’ll be at least TE2 soon enough.
- Mond might be listed as the backup quarterback on the depth chart, but I’m pretty sure that Sean Mannion is actually QB2 at this point. We’re going to have to see how the Vikings handle that situation, since the team can only “elevate” Mannion from the practice squad to the active roster twice before they have to sign him permanently or let him go.
Kicker - Greg Joseph
Punter/Holder - Jordan Berry
Long Snapper - Andrew DePaola
Kick Returner - Ihmir Smith-Marsette, K.J. Osborn
Punt Returner - K.J. Osborn, Dede Westbrook, Ihmir Smith-Marsette
Special Teams thoughts. . .
- Osborn was one of the worst punt returners in the league last year, but is getting another shot because, from all reports, he’s leaps and bounds ahead of where he was last season. Good on him.
- It will be interesting to see what the Vikings do with the kick return spot when Kene Nwangwu is eligible to return in Week 4 and whether or not Smith-Marsette holds on to the spot.
And that’s your first official Vikings’ depth chart of 2021, folks. What do you think?