Sunday, August 26, 2012

Projecting the Vikings 53-Man Roster

Today we show you our projected list of
Vikings cuts, as the roster is
shaped to 53 players.
Today on Vikings Corner we will give you a projection of the Vikings 53-man roster.

Quarterbacks: Christian Ponder, Joe Webb, Sage Rosenfels (3)

The Steam: The Vikings have the best group of quarterbacks they have had in a long time. Ponder is being groomed into our franchise quarterback, Webb brings an athletic presence, and Rosenfels is a great mentor to Christian Ponder. McLeod Bethel-Thompson looks like he is a perfect developmental quarterback and the organization could try to slide him onto the practice squad.

Running Backs/Fullbacks: Adrian Peterson, Toby Gerhart, Matt Asiata, Jordan Todman (4)

The Steam: Many question whether or not the Vikings are really serious about Matt Asiata being the 3rd down running back. Based on the last preseason game, you have to believe that Vikings are serious about Asiata. Throughout training camp, Lex Hilliard was the projected 3rd down running back, but with the recent performance, Asiata showed it is tough to fathom the Vikings aren't going to keep him on the roster. In addition, Asiata received the bulk of the carries over Hilliard on Friday, which shows the coaching staff isn't completely confident in Hilliard. It is also too early to write off running back Jordan Todman, who has missed the majority of training camp and the preseason with an ankle injury. He saw his first action on Friday and made a nice grab out of the backfield. Don't be by surprised by Jerome Felton being cut because the Vikings already have Rhett Ellison's H-Back ability. We can't forget that Asiata also has had some experience at fullback, which is another positive Asiata brings to the roster. In this instance the Vikings would be able to keep 4 running backs. Ultimately, this position group will be decided over the next week of practices.

Tight Ends: Kyle Rudolph, John Carlson, Rhett Ellison, Allen Reisner (4)

The Steam: Kyle Rudolph and John Carlson will be the prime duo for the regular season, but Carlson will potentially need more time to recover from the MCL sprain. That poses the need for the Vikings to keep Allen Reisner on the roster. He likely beats out Mickey Shuler because he is a bigger threat in the passing game. In addition, Rhett Ellison will be playing H-Back and brings a passing threat along with him. Look for the tight ends to be a strength of this roster.

Wide Receivers: Percy Harvin, Michael Jenkins, Jarius Wright, Manny Arceneaux, Devin Aromashodu (5)

The Steam: With Jerome Simpson suspended for the first three games, the Vikings may keep 5 receivers and look to release one after Simpson returns. A player like Manny Arceneaux will need to show the coaching staff he can make an impact while Simpson is suspended. I keep coming back to Coach Stewart calling Arceneaux the most improved player he has ever coached. I don't see how a player can be released after showing improvement like he did. This means the Vikings will release Stephen Burton, but many people have different opinions on Burton. I never have been impressed with Burton from the start. He was had injury issues his whole career and was practically non-exsistent in the San Diego game, only making one catch. Burton isn't a player that I would trust in a big spot, due to his inability to hold onto the football. Devin Aromashodu is a lock on this roster because of his experience as a veteran in this league. Look for Aromashodu and Arceneaux to have an elevated role while Jerome Simpson is suspended.

Offensive Line: Matt Kalil, Charlie Johnson, John Sullivan, Brandon Fusco, Phil Loadholt, Geoff Schwartz, Joe Berger, DeMarcus Love, Pat Brown (9)

The Steam: The main part of the Minnesota Moving Company will be solid and will protect Christian Ponder way better than last year. When backup offensive lineman are discussed, Geoff Schwartz and Joe Berger will be the utility players who can be versatile. Schwartz has the ability to play tackle and guard, while Berger can play center or guard. I like DeMarcus Love's size and athletic ability and feel like he makes the roster, despite the pectoral injury he suffered in the early stages of training camp. Pat Brown was utilized with the first team in a six man offensive front. With this formation, protection is better and it puts the offensive line in total control. You make ask why I excluded Vikings 2010 fifth round draft pick Chris DeGeare off the roster. I feel like he hasn't been a positive to the coaching staff and after evaluating him in training camp, he was getting beat almost every other snap. I don't forsee him making the roster, unless DeMarcus Love has a poor performance in his debut on Thursday vs. the Texans.

Defensive Line: Jared Allen, Kevin Williams, Letroy Guion, Brian Robison, Everson Griffen, Christian Ballard, Fred Evans, D'Aundre Reed, Trevor Guyton (9)

The Steam: When you take a look at the listed group of players, you see the true talent we have in this position group. Jared Allen leading the league in sacks, Kevin Williams presence in the middle, Letroy Guion's run stuffing ability (when he returns), and Brian Robison's improved pass rushing skills, round out the starting four. Everson Griffen will be swapped into the middle on passing situations and can get to the quarterback. 2011 draft pick Christian Ballard has improved and is viable backup to the defensive tackles. Fred Evans is a veteran of the group and recorded a nice sack in the game vs. the Chargers on Friday. He will be the man to replace Letroy Guion if he isn't full recovered from his PCL injury. D'Aundre Reed will be a solid option to backup Brian Robison and Jared Allen and Trevor Guyton rounds out the group as a security blanket, while Guion remains injured.

Linebackers: Chad Greenway, Jasper Brinkley, Erin Henderson, Marvin Mitchell, Tyrone McKenzie, Audie Cole (6)

The Steam: The linebacker position may be more solidified than we first thought. The top four players include Chad Greenway, Jasper Brinkley, Erin Henderson and Marvin Mitchell, all players who have experience and can make an impact. Many fantasize over Larry Dean being such a great special teams player. Yes, he was during his first season, but we have a better option in Tyrone McKenzie. McKenzie can play special teams, but has the flexibility and experience to replace an injured starter. Audie Cole has shown flashes in all the Vikings preseason games and has proven his readiness to play in this league.

Cornerbacks: Antoine Winfield, Chris Cook, Josh Robinson, Chris Carr, Marcus Sherels, Zack Bowman (6)

The Steam: The cornerback position is going to bare some tough decisions for the Vikings. Again the top four cornerbacks are set in stone, but the last two available spots are up for grabs. 2011 draft pick Brandon Burton was hoped to be groomed into a full time starter for the Vikings, but he didn't pan out. Marcus Sherels has the ability to return kicks and is a decent option in coverage, so Sherels' versatility most likely defeats Burton's roster spot. Then comes the decision between Reggie Jones, Bobby Felder, and Zack Bowman for the last available cornerback spot. Zack Bowman has to win this job because of his experience, but look for Felder and Jones to be practice squad options.

Safety: Harrison Smith, Mistral Raymond, Jamarca Sanford, Robert Blanton (4)

The Steam: The safety position is much stronger than in years past. Harrison Smith brings great physicality and Mistral Raymond has improved in run support. Jamarca Sanford brings an excellent presence on special teams and will likely replace special teams ace Eric Frampton. Frampton is due $850,000, which is a disadvantage because he would be due that money upon release, but the Vikings invested a draft pick on Robert Blanton and won't release him for a special teams ace. Andrew Sendejo has been impressive on special teams, but won't make the roster because we have so much depth at this position. Look for for the Vikings to keep a safety on the practice squad for insurance during the season.

Specialists: Blair Walsh, Chris Kluwe, Cullen Loeffler (3)

The Steam: This position group is the only spot where everyone is secure. Walsh has shown his big leg, Kluwe has shown his ability at punting balls inside the twenty, and Loeffler is a veteran who knows how to play at long-snapper.

So here is the projected list of players who will be released by Friday at 8 p.m:

* Denotes projected spot on practice squad

DT- Chase Baker
QB- McLeod Bethel-Thompson*
CB- Brandon Burton
WR- Stephen Burton
DE- Jeff Charleston
FB- Ryan D'Imperio
LB- Larry Dean
G- Chris DeGeare
CB- Bobby Felder*
FB- Jerome Felton
S- Eric Frampton
RB- Lex Hilliard
G- Tyler Holmes*
CB-Reggie Jones*
OT- Kevin Murphy*
LB- Corey Paredes
G- Austin Pasztor
DE- Nick Reed
C- Quentin Saulsberry*
S- Andrew Sendejo*
TE- Mickey Shuler

Stay tuned for more information on roster cuts and practices this week!

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