Vikings make their final roster cuts later today. Here are my final projections for who makes it out on defense and special teams.
Prediction: DE1. Griffen DE2. Hunter DE3. Robison DE4. Bower DE5. Weatherly
Prediction: DT1. Joseph DT2. Richardson DT3. Johnson DT4. Odenigbo DT5. Holmes
I have come to expect that the Vikings load up on defensive line in order to keep a few young talents. Odenigbo and Holmes both have tremendous upside as interior pass rushers, and it would be tough to pick one over the other. At end, Bower has looked like the best young pass rusher and Weatherly the best run stopper on the edge, so they seem fairly locked in, as well. All in all, the future of the Vikings’ defensive line looks awfully deep.
Prediction: MLB. Kendricks SLB. Barr WLB. Gedeon LB4. Wilson
Going with six receivers, 10 defensive linemen and 11 defensive backs means one position is going extra light. I think that will be linebacker. No non-starter has stood out other than Wilson, and the Vikings have an abundance of talented defensive backs to work with. As such, they load up there in exchange for a lower number of linebackers.
Prediction: CB1. Rhodes CB2. Waynes CB3. Alexander CB4. Hughes CB5. Newman CB6. Hill PR/KR. Sherels
Prediction: SS. Sendejo FS. Smith S3. Iloka S4. Harris
The last two defensive back spots have been a toss-up between Hill, Harris and Kearse. Hill’s immense physical gifts brought intrigue, but he had been somewhat disappointing through three preseason games. Harris and Kearse, on the other hand, were more proven both as defensive players and as special teamers. However, in week four, Hill came alive in a big way. He demonstrated exactly what he is capable of in every aspect of the game. That showing means that he likely would not last a day on the practice squad, and thus, he is now a must-keep. Between Kearse and Harris, the latter is simply more reliable as a safety. So as handy as Kearse is as a gunner, he unfortunately gets the axe.
The Vikings still keep 11 defensive backs due to the versatility of their safeties. Iloka especially has the size and ability to substitute as a linebacker-adjacent player, hence the extra defensive back and low number of linebackers.
On Roster: Kevin McDermott
On Roster: Ryan Quigley
On Roster: Daniel Carlson
Carlson’s week three struggles aside, there is no way the Vikings enter the season with anyone else as kicker. The kid is talented, as evidenced by his 57-yarder in week one. Once he settles himself down, he should be an above-average kicker. The other two spots are gimmes. They have been running unopposed since the beginning of camp.
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