Camp is well underway, and the Vikings are starting to give some indications as to where their roster is headed. The initial depth chart release saw most rookies near the bottom, which may be a sign as to how they plan to approach their myriad of draft picks this year. With preseason games ready to kick off, here is an update for the Vikings’ 53-man roster projections.
First, the offense.
Prediction: QB1. Cousins QB2. Mannion PS. Sloter
I would not put it past Minnesota to retain three quarterbacks, given their history of injury trouble and the apparent affinity for Sloter. However, for my eyes, they have too much talent elsewhere to use an extra spot on a quarterback. Cousins will be the starter without any question. The backup spot is a bit more up in the air, but with Mannion’s pedigree and greater experience, he still has the edge for now.
Prediction: RB1. Cook RB2. Mattison RB3. Abdullah FB. Ham
Abdullah took second team reps early, but for most of camp, Mattison has assumed the role most expected when he went in the third round. He seems entrenched as second back behind Cook. Meanwhile, Abdullah is handling most kick return duties in camp, so his spot seems safe, as well. After that, with Ham as fullback, there does not appear to be much mystery here. Maybe Boone pushes his way in as a fifth running back as he did a year ago, but that seems unlikely.
Prediction: WR1A. Thielen WR1B. Diggs WR3. Beebe WR4. Taylor WR5. Treadwell
Last week saw pointed comments from Mike Zimmer about his young receivers, saying they need to show more development at this stage. That non-mincing of words has to bring into question the chances of every non-Chad Beebe first- and second-year receiver on the team. Beebe and Taylor both seem solid as the third and fourth guy. Meanwhile, Treadwell’s contract dictates he will likely get a spot as well, deserved or not. After that, until games start and receivers get chances to shine, I am going light at this position. Only Badet seems to have stood out outside of these five, but the sixth receiver spot is going to other positions for now.
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Prediction: TE1. Rudolph TE2. Smith TE3. Conklin TE4. Morgan
Morgan’s injury opened a window for Conklin to shine, and he has taken advantage. He has looked good in both aspects of the game thus far, which has put a lot of pressure on the Vikings to keep him. Rudolph and Smith are guaranteed spots as de facto third options, barring inury, and Morgan’s blocking has been invaluable the last two years. So at this time, I am leaning four tight ends making the final roster.
Prediction: LT. Reiff RT. O’Neill OT3. Hill
Prediction: LG. Elflein RG. Kline G3. Dozier G4. Samia
Prediction: C1. Bradbury C2. Jones
I had 10 offensive linemen two months ago, reserving two spots for rookies. However, as tomorrow’s piece will show, I see more depth talent on the defensive line, so they earn the extra spot at this time. For the offensive line, the starting five is set, and two reserves in Hill and Jones seem like safe bets. After that, Samia as a developmental piece and future starter is probably in line to make the roster, and Dozier’s NFL experience should be valuable as a swing reserve. Collins gets bumped for now due to his injury troubles, and Udoh earns a practice squad nod as another developmental piece.
–Sam Smith is the Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage Vikings and Deputy Editor for Full Press NFL. Like and Follow @samc_smith.
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