Minnesota has officially set its 53-man roster to open the 2019 season. Of course, these positions are constantly in flux, so everything could look a bit different by game day. That said, here are the players with whom the Vikings will officially enter the regular season.
Kyle Sloter, preseason legend will live on in the hearts of Vikings fans. Rumor was the team was looking to trade him before his cut so they could maintain Jake Browning for the practice squad. Perhaps Sloter will eventually stick as a backup somewhere, but the Minnesota coaching staff always saw him a distant third behind Mannion.
For the second year in a row, the Vikings loaded up on running backs. Ham’s wide spread of use (running, receiving, special teams) earned him the edge over touchdown machine Khari Blasingame. With Abdullah adding the return game element, Vikings chose to not make a choice between him and Boone.
Arguably the most surprising revelation this year, the Vikings went very light on receivers. Brandon Zylstra was a favorite to nab the last spot, but instead, the Vikings loaded up in other areas and only kept the four guys who have consistently seen top reps the last few weeks. Former first-round pick Laquon Treadwell is officially no longer a Viking.
A surprise camp standout, Dillon earned the last spot as David Morgan starts the season on PUP. Morgan will be available after the Vikings sixth game.
Vikings used their extra slots to bulk up the front. Both day three rookies in Samia and Udoh landed spots, as did versatile veterans Jones and Dozier. The lone surprise cut was Aviante Collins, who seemed to be recovering from his leg injury. He is a top candidate for the practice squad.
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Nine of these names seemed like locks, as all flashed enough to land their spots. Watts was the one uncertainty, but even he showed some excellent potential, despite being the clear 10th guy. The Vikings have a deep, talented defensive line group, especially on the interior. However, it is worth noting that few have made game day impact to date in their NFL careers.
With the Vikings going light at receiver and defensive back, the prevailing thought was they would compensate with six linebackers. However, the Vikings went with all veteran presence here, retaining just five and choosing Brothers over fifth-round rookie Cameron Smith and second-year Devante Downs. Smith was one of just two 2019 picks to not make the roster, out of 12 (Dillon Mitchell).
While the trade of Fields today could have thrown a wrench into other players’ chances, there were no overly surprising cuts here. Both rookies in Epps and Boyd earned spots over Derron Smith and Duke Thomas, and the other seven spots had no mystery to them whatsoever. As an undrafted rookie out of Clemson, Fields is mostly an upside play who struggled a bit in his brief run with the Chiefs this preseason.
The trade for Kaare Vedvik may not go down as an all-time miss. But trading a fifth for a kicker who failed to make the team three weeks later is not exactly a shining moment for Rick Spielman. The Vikings chose to go status quo, though Wile’s role as the holder could still be in limbo, if Beebe proves competent.
–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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