Friday, September 2, 2016

Minnesota Vikings Final 53-Man Roster Projection

Photo: Rant Sports
The Vikings closed out the preseason schedule with a 27-25 win over the LA Rams. Now, the attention shifts towards how the coaches will formulate the final 53-man roster. Daniel House releases his final 53-man roster projection.

Updated: September 2nd, 2016 11:56am

By: Daniel House

The Vikings closed out the preseason schedule with a 27-25 win over the LA Rams. Now, the attention shifts towards how the coaches will formulate the final 53-man roster. Roster cuts must be completed by 3 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, which means teams will start trimming their depth charts this afternoon.

I have watched training camp practices and intensely evaluated the preseason. With that being said, I decided to make a final 53-man roster projection.

If I was GM Rick Spielman, this what I would do:

Offense (25):

QB (2): Shaun Hill, Joel Stave
Analysis: With Teddy Bridgewater going down for the season, the entire outlook at this position has changed. Look for the Vikings to add a young quarterback after roster cuts are completed, which might send Joel Stave to the practice field until Taylor Heinicke is ready to return from injury.

RB (3): Adrian Peterson, Jerick McKinnon, Matt Asiata
Analysis: C.J. Ham and Jhurell Pressley have added some flavor to the running back group, but it isn't going to change how the Vikings structure the position for the 53-man roster.

FB (1): Zach Line
Analysis: Zach Line improved as the preseason progressed and laid some nice blocks to open some holes for the running backs. Norv Turner has always valued the fullback and this year isn't any different.

WR (6): Stefon Diggs, Charles Johnson, Adam Thielen, Laquon Treadwell, Jarius Wright, Cordarrelle Patterson
Analysis: The wide receiver position appeared more murky entering training camp, but it turned out to be less of a battle. Cordarrelle Patterson was injured for most of training camp and didn't flash in the preseason either. Nonetheless, his value on special teams and overall potential will keep him around. Jarius Wright has fallen down the depth chart, however, it would be tough losing his dependability even if he is the 5th or 6th wide receiver.

TE (4): Kyle Rudolph, MyCole Pruitt, David Morgan, Rhett Ellison
Analysis: The Vikings are stacked at tight end with two versatile pass catchers like Kyle Rudolph and MyCole Pruitt, along with the incredible run blocking skills of David Morgan and Rhett Ellison. Morgan was the most impressive rookie at training camp and didn't disappoint in training camp either. Ellison made a comeback after tearing his patellar tendon and provides so much value in the running game.

OL (9): Matt Kalil, Alex Boone, Joe Berger, Brandon Fusco, Andre Smith, Nick Easton, Zac Kerin, T.J. Clemmings, Jeremiah Sirles
Analysis: The offensive line position is the toughest position group to project without knowing how the coaches are looking to structure the position. The main swing tackle spots are solidified and Nick Easton will be the backup center. It comes down to the final roster spot among the offensive line. Zac Kerin had an up-and-down preseason campaign, but draft pick Willie Beavers has been worse. The Vikings might keep a fourth round pick around for more time, but I just don't think Beavers has shown enough to prove he has a higher ceiling than a player like Zac Kerin.

Defense (25):

DE (4): Everson Griffen, Brian Robison, Danielle Hunter, Justin Trattou
Analysis: Zach Moore made one strong final push for a roster spot, however, I'm not sure it will be enough. Looking into the future, Brian Robison is nearing the end of his career and it might be nice to keep Zach Moore around to become future depth. Toby Johnson has been fantastic in every preseason game and I currently have the Vikings keeping five defensive tackles. That impacts the ability to keep Moore around. Justin Trattou has been phenomenal in the preseason and all he does is make plays. He can provide enough depth in a deep defensive end group.

DT (5): Sharrif Floyd, Linval Joseph, Tom Johnson, Shamar Stephen, Toby Johnson
Analysis: The Vikings have such a talented group of interior defensive lineman. They didn't have much depth last year, but that isn't the case this season. Tom Johnson is a reliable rotational pass rusher, Shamar Stephen is such a fundamentally sound player, and Toby Johnson is diamond-in-the-rough player who emerged.

LB (6): Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks, Chad Greenway, Emmanuel Lamur, Audie Cole, Edmond Robinson
Analysis: Many people are slamming on the table for Kentrell Brothers to the make the final 53-man roster. He put together a good performance in the fourth preseason game, but I think it may have been a little too late. As I have noted numerous times, I'm not sure he is the best fit for this system moving forward. Edmond Robinson has more potential to develop into a future starter and Audie Cole is always reliable when injuries strike.

CB (6): Xavier Rhodes, Terence Newman, Captain Munnerlyn, Trae Waynes, Mackensie Alexander, Marcus Sherels
Analysis: There is so much young talent at cornerback and the Vikings are developing a nice stable of players for the future. Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander will only improve with time and definitely can be major contributors on this roster. Finally, Marcus Sherels will make the roster again as a special teams ace. He is one of the most sure-handed punt returners in the league and that is enough to keep a 53-man roster spot for him.

S (4): Harrison Smith, Andrew Sendejo, Jayron Kearse, Anthony Harris
Analysis: In the fourth preseason game, Jayron Kearse did everything necessary to cement his final 53-man roster spot. He was all over the field and notched a forced fumble and recovery. He is a player that could be developed into a starter for the future. Additionally, Anthony Harris has been battling injuries, but his experience and overall potential are enough to keep him around.

Specialists (3):

K (1): Blair Walsh
P (1): Jeff Locke
LS (1): Kevin McDermott

Analysis: There are no question marks with this group. However, they need to perform consistently well this year for the Vikings to be successful. Poor special teams play won't cut it in 2016.

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