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Daniel House unveils his first Vikings 53-man roster projection following the third preseason game. See who he has making the 'cut.'
Updated: August 30th, 2015 1:20pm
By: Daniel House
I have created a 53-man roster projection following the third preseason game. I'll probably do one more before the final roster cuts. Keep in mind, this is my best stab and it (probably) won't be anything close to the real front office decision.QB's: Teddy Bridgewater, Shaun Hill, Taylor Heinicke (3)
- My Take: The Vikings can't slide Taylor Heinicke onto the practice squad without losing him to another team. The Turner's really like how he fits their system and don't want to lose the chance to develop Heinicke as the third quarterback.
RB's: Adrian Peterson, Jerick McKinnon, Matt Asiata (3)
- My Take: There are no surprises with this position group. Jerick McKinnon will likely be the third down running back and Matt Asiata will rotate into the group for short yardage situations. Oh yeah, and Adrian Peterson is back.
FB: None (0)
- My Take: Zach Line hasn't done well as a lead blocker in the preseason. The coaches have really been testing his run blocking and pass protection skills in both the preseason and training camp. I still think they give him a chance and allow him to block at the start of the season. Other teams will be trimming players and the coaches could find another fit for this position. However, the more likely scenario would be to give Rhett Ellison more duties as a fullback. This allows them to save one more valuable player at a deeper position group.
WR's: Mike Wallace, Charles Johnson, Jarius Wright, Cordarrelle Patterson, Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen (6)
- My Take: Having six wide receivers on this roster is seemingly a lock. The Vikings have plenty of talent at wide receiver in many different capacities. This team is not parting ways with Cordarrelle Patterson. They will continue to work with him and hope he develops into the receiver they have been yearning for. Adam Thielen is extremely valuable on special teams and has had another excellent training camp and preseason.
TE's: Kyle Rudolph, MyCole Pruitt, Rhett Ellison (3)
- My Take: This position group might be one of the trickiest decisions for the Vikings front office staff. Kyle Rudolph and MyCole Pruitt will highlight many of the two tight end formations. Rhett Ellison will be used for blocking and could perform more fullback duties if the coaches decide not to keep Zach Line. Chase Ford has played very well over the last two weeks of the preseason. He fits this system well and would be solid depth in the event injuries strike this group. However, they don't have space to keep him with so many other candidates at other position groups.
OL: Matt Kalil, Brandon Fusco, John Sullivan, Mike Harris, T.J. Clemmings, Joe Berger, Zac Kerin, David Yankey, Austin Shepherd (9)
- My Take: The starters are locked in for the opening game and it's pretty easy to project what the Vikings depth will look like among the offensive line. When injuries strike, Joe Berger can be a versatile veteran on the offensive line. Zac Kerin has performed very well in the preseason and can play both guard and center. David Yankey and Austin Shepherd both have versatility and can be developmental projects, as well.
DE's: Everson Griffen, Brian Robison, Danielle Hunter, Scott Crichton, Justin Trattou (5)
- My Take: The defense end group is packed with talent and the coaches almost need to keep five on the active roster. Hunter is a developmental project and Crichton is showing promise after a solid offseason. Justin Trattou has played really well in the preseason and can be disruptive as both a run defender and pass rusher.
DT's: Linval Joseph, Sharrif Floyd, Tom Johnson, Shamar Stephen (4)
- My Take: The top three players of this group have the chance to be very dominant. Joseph and Floyd both look like they've improved and Tom Johnson has been tearing it up in the preseason. Shamar Stephen had his knee scoped, but all indications point to him being ready for the season as a backup interior defensive lineman.
LB's: Anthony Barr, Audie Cole, Chad Greenway, Gerald Hodges, Eric Kendricks, Brandon Watts, Edmond Robinson (7)
- My Take: This position group is definitely the most difficult to cut down on this roster. The top-four is set with Barr, Greenway, Hodges, and Kendricks. After that, Audie Cole, Brandon Watts, Edmond Robinson, Mike Mauti, and Brian Peters are battling for the final four roster spots. Cole is a lock and knows how to make plays. Watts was a draft pick last year and can contribute on both special teams and at linebacker. Edmond Robinson has the prototype to be a linebacker in this league. He has the size and athleticism to play in this system. The front office could try to put him on the practice squad, but I think they like him too much to risk it. Mike Mauti might make this team because of special teams contributions, but that seems unlikely. The potential ceiling is simply higher with Edmond Robinson.
CB's: Xavier Rhodes, Terence Newman, Trae Waynes, Captain Munnerlyn, Marcus Sherels, Shaun Prater (6)
- My Take: Marcus Sherels is kicking and screaming onto the Vikings roster again in 2015. Sherels is obviously a part of the plans as the punt returner. He isn't the best option as a cornerback, but his contributions on special teams are more important. Mike Zimmer loves Shaun Prater's versatility and calls him a 'defensive back.' He play's in the slot, on the outside, and has worked primarily at safety leading up to the season. He is very serviceable and has the flexibility that many defensive backs don't have. Many have asked whether I believe Captain Munnerlyn will make this team. The answer is: yes. He might be undersized and behind the learning curve, but he still is significantly better than any depth you could find on the market. Munnerlyn will likely start as the slot cornerback and will need to play much better for this team to be successful.
Safeties: Harrison Smith, Robert Blanton, Andrew Sendejo, Antone Exum Jr. (4)
- My take: The Vikings have a solid group of safeties and all of them can contribute in a wide variety of ways. Sendejo and Exum Jr. will both play an active role on special teams and will provide depth in the event an injury occurs with Blanton or Smith.
Specialists: Blair Walsh, Jeff Locke, Kevin McDermott (3)
- My Take: Cullen Loeffler was released last week and the long snapper battle is already won by Kevin McDermott. The Vikings aren't making any changes with Walsh or Locke. However, Walsh does need to gain confidence, while becoming more consistent in the kicking game.
PUP/Suspension List: Josh Robinson, Jabari Price
Practice Squad: Isame Faciane, B. J. Dubose, Jordan Leslie, Zach Line, Dominique Williams, Tom Farniok, Tyrus Thompson, DaVaris Daniels, Anthony Harris, Justin Coleman (10)
- My Take: There are many developmental pieces on this practice squad. These are the ones I would keep after evaluating them in training camp practices and the preseason.