Draft season and all the meaningless speculation that comes with it is finally in the books. So that means it is time to prognosticate to little avail how those draft picks and other faces, new and familiar alike, will fare once training camp breaks.
The Vikings added quite a bit of depth to a number of offensive positions. The odds are high that more than a couple undrafted rookies end up on the 53-man roster for week one. So without further ado, here are the projections as of May for how the offense will shake out.
Prediction: QB1. Cousins QB2. Siemian PS. Sloter
This one is pretty obvious, at least as far as one and two go. The only question is whether the Vikings keep Sloter on the roster or move him to the practice squad. Based on the lengths they have gone to prevent Sloter from being poached by another team, do not be shocked if the Vikings keep three quarterbacks on the 53.
Prediction: RB1. Cook RB2. Murray RB3. Thomas FB1. Ham
The top two spots are fairly clear with Cook and Murray providing thunder-and-lightning. And Ham was useful last year as both a blocker and occasionally with the ball in his hands, so he figures to make the roster again as the fullback. The RB3 slot will likely come down to undrafted rookies Thomas and Boone, who are both change-of-pace backs with explosive ability. Brown is also a possibility as the only one with NFL experience. Thomas is the pick for now, as he provides a little bit more home run ability.
Prediction: WR1A. Thielen WR1B. Diggs WR3. Wright WR4. Treadwell WR5. King WR6. Wieneke
The question with the sixth receiver spot is whether the Vikings want to go with receiving potential or special teams utility. Wieneke could be a surprising red zone threat, but will be of little use in the kicking game. Same goes for Robertson. Badet and Coley, on the other hand, have great speed for returning and gunning duties, but are unlikely to factor much in the offense. For now, we will go with the offensive weapon in Wieneke, but preseason games will determine quite a bit at this position.
Prediction: TE1. Rudolph TE2. Morgan TE3. Conklin
This one also seems fairly clear, assuming no injuries take place and Conklin shows his receiving upside in the preseason. Morgan is listed as TE2 because he will likely get more snaps, due to his blocking ability. But Conklin figures to be more involved in two tight end sets on passing downs, so long as he fully recovers from a nasty foot injury suffered in 2017.
Prediction: LT. Reiff RT. O’Neill T3. Hill
Reiff and O’Neill are virtual locks but the last spot is somewhat open for business. Hill has a number of starts under his belt but he was undrafted two years ago, meaning the opportunity is there for one of these other undrafted players to grab the swing tackle spot. Collins would be the one to watch. He took a number of snaps as jumbo package tight end as an rookie last season. For now, however, he gets bumped to make room for the young guards and Hill keeps his spot as third tackle.
Remmers is listed as a tackle on the Vikings roster, so his absence on the 53-man prediction may be conspicuous. He is a lock to make the team, but I am predicting it will be at another position.
Prediction: LG. Easton RG. Remmers G3. Compton G4. Isidora G5. Gossett
Remmers’ move to guard late last year had mixed results, but given the state of the Vikings’ interior, it seems inevitable he stays inside to start the season. He and Compton are both versatile and could play either guard or tackle, which is why there are five guards and just three tackles making the roster here.
There are a lot of variations with regard to the starting lineup inside. Realistically, any of the five listed could end up starting day one. Isidora would be the primary guy to watch in terms of leap. He is a supreme athlete who merited a fifth-round pick in 2017. It is well within the realm of possibility that he or Gossett take major steps in training camp and earn an opening day start.
Prediction: C. Elflein
It is a little risky, but the Vikings will likely go into the regular season with only one pure center. Easton would be the backup center and starting guard in this scenario. For a little extra security, Gossett said in an interview that he would also be comfortable at center. So while it may seem precarious to keep just one guy at the position, there are options should Elflein go down again.
Check back this weekend as we project the 53-man rosters for the defense and special teams.
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