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Vikings Announce Final 53-man Roster

And there were a few surprises.

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The Minnesota Vikings have announced the 53-man roster. Obviously, things can change throughout the next couple of days, but here’s where things stand currently:


Arizona Cardinals v Minnesota Vikings

(3) Kirk Cousins, Nick Mullens, Jaren Hall

No surprises here. The Vikings opt to keep three quarterbacks with the new emergency quarterback rule in place, which allows teams to avoid counting the emergency quarterback as one of its active players on game day. This rule further incentivizes the Vikings to keep rookie QB Jaren Hall on the 53-man roster, even though they probably would’ve kept him around regardless.

Runningbacks and a Fullback

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(4) Alexander Mattison, Kene Nwangwu, Ty Chandler, C.J. Ham

Despite the Vikings’ emphasis on improving the run game this year, Minnesota curiously decided to keep only three running backs, plus C.J. Ham. Those three are Alexander Mattison — who is expected to get the majority of the touches, kick returner Kene Nwangwu who has been working back from injury for quite some time now, and Ty Chandler who showed this preseason that he can be a capable receiving threat out of the backfield. Rookie 7th-rounder DeWayne McBride was waived, but expect to see him back on the practice squad.

Wide Receiver

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(6) Justin Jefferson, KJ Osborn, Jordan Addison, Jalen Nailor, Brandon Powell, Jalen Reagor

My hot take was right! A while back, I was on Purple Daily and one of my predictions was that Jalen Reagor would make the 53-man roster. My reasoning had to do with what the Vikings gave up for him, and the lack of a financial incentive to cut him. Yet, Reagor managed to exceed expectations late in training camp and in the preseason. Even though the Vikings were showcasing and shopping Jalen ahead of cutdown day, he still managed to maintain his roster spot. It’s also nice to see Brandon Powell cement himself a spot on the roster, especially with the other 4 guys essentially being locks to make the team.

Tight End

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(4) T.J. Hockenson, Josh Oliver, Johnny Mundt, Nick Muse

The Vikings are three-deep at tight end with Hockenson, Oliver, and Mundt. So there was some doubt about whether or not Nick Muse would make the team. However, Nick Muse’s outstanding preseason performance made it impossible for the Vikings to get away with sneaking him onto the practice squad. Plus, he’s nice injury insurance in case someone gets hurt.

Offensive line

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(8) Christian Darrisaw, Ezra Cleveland, Garrett Bradbury, Ed Ingram, Brian O’Neill, Oli Udoh, Austin Schlottmann, Blake Brandel

After trading Vederian Lowe to the New England Patriots for a 6th round pick, the Vikings really only had three backups worth keeping on the roster. There’s Oli Udoh and his unique contract, Blake Brandel who can play both tackle and guard, and Austin Schlottmann who has cemented himself as the backup center that can also play guard. The Vikings also have Chris Reed who will miss the first four games on the NFI list, but he doesn’t count against the 53-man roster until he’s activated.

Defensive Line

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(5) Khyiris Tonga, Harrison Phillips, Dean Lowry, Jonathan Bullard, Jaquelin Roy

The depth chart on the Vikings’ website has Khyiris Tonga, Harrison Phillips, and Dean Lowry listed as starters. However, I’d expect Brian Flores to rotate guys in and out frequently. This isn’t gonna be like last year where the same couple of guys get a vast majority of the reps on the defensive line. It wouldn’t shock me if rookie Jaquelin Roy became a regular part of the rotation later on in the season.

Outside Linebacker

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(5) Danielle Hunter, Marcus Davenport, D.J. Wonnum, Patrick Jones, Andre Carter

I’m gonna be honest, I was shocked when the Vikings waived Luiji Vilain. I thought he played well throughout training camp and in the preseason, and Vilain is miles ahead of where Andre Carter is currently in his development. That being said, there wasn’t much competition for significant playing time at outside linebacker this year with Danielle Hunter and Marcus Davenport likely to take up the majority of playing time. Maybe you can get Patrick Jones some playing time on third downs, but that isn’t much.

Inside Linebacker

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(4) Jordan Hicks, Brian Asamoah, Ivan Pace, Troy Dye

This one is pretty straightforward. Hicks and Asamoah are established starters, Troy Dye looks a lot more comfortable entering his fourth year, and Ivan Pace Jr. is unquestionably this year’s Mr. Eagan and should get a fair amount of playing time this year. Also, Mr. Mankato rolls off the tongue better, but whatever.


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(5) Byron Murphy, Akayleb Evans, Mekhi Blackmon, Andrew Booth, Najee Thompson

After initially running with the 1s at training camp, Joejuan Williams quickly fell off the map. Williams’ poor showing during the offseason program put him in a precarious situation, and the Vikings ultimately cut him which was a bit of a surprise given his connection to Brian Flores. Andrew Booth and Najee Thompson will fight for that 4th cornerback spot, but I’d have to assume that Booth will be a rotational player this year, despite his struggles. This is easily the weakest position group on the team, and it wouldn’t shock me if the Vikings signed a veteran cornerback.


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(6) Harrison Smith, Camryn Bynum, Josh Metellus, Lewis Cine, Jay Ward, Theo Jackson

Another surprise was the Vikings deciding to keep six safeties on the roster. I understand that the Vikings are gonna run a ton of three safety looks, both out of insanity and necessity, but does this team really need Theo Jackson taking up a roster spot? We already have two young safeties in Lewis Cine and Jay Ward who will hardly get any playing time. Either Theo Jackson is that guy, or the Vikings cornerback group is so awful that we need to roster more safeties to compensate. I tend to believe the ladder.


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(3) Greg Joseph, Ryan Wright, Andrew DePaola

Not much to write home about here. Greg Joseph faced a little bit of competition against UDFA Jack Podlesny, but he was eventually waived. Ryan Wright and Andrew DePaola faced no competition whatsoever, and deservedly so. It’s worth mentioning that Kene Nwangwu and Jalen Reagor are listed as starting kick and punt returners respectively. However, we’ll see if that changes as the season progresses.

And there it is, the Vikings 53-man roster! What roster cut surprised you the most? For me it was Joejuan Williams, but I want to know what you all think.