The Vikings have released their first unofficial depth chart before the preseason. Obviously, some things are fluid while others are obvious and there’s not much in between. As it stands:
|Offensive Depth Chart|
|QB||Matt Cassel||Teddy Bridgewater||Christian Ponder|
|HB||Adrian Peterson||Matt Asiata||Jerick McKinnon||Joe Banyard||Dominique Williams|
|FB||Jerome Felton||Zach Line|
|WR1||Cordarrelle Patterson||Adam Thielen||Rodney Smith||Kamar Jorden||Donte Foster||Andy Cruse|
|WR2||Greg Jennings||Jerome Simpson||Jarius Wright||Kain Colter||Erik Lora||Ty Walker|
|WR3||Greg Jennings||Jarius Wright||Adam Thielen||Kain Colter|
|TE||Kyle Rudolph||Rhett Ellison||Chase Ford||AC Leonard||Mike Higgins||Allen Reisner|
|LT||Matt Kalil||Antonio Richardson||Kevin Murphy|
|LG||Charlie Johnson||David Yankey||Pierce Burton|
|C||John Sullivan||Joe Berger||Zac Kerin|
|RG||Brandon Fusco||Vladimir Ducasse||Jeff Baca|
|RT||Phil Loadholt||Mike Remmers||Austin Wentworth|
|Defensive Depth Chart|
|RDE||Everson Griffen||Scott Crichton||Justin Trattou|
|UT||Sharrif Floyd||Tom Johnson||Kheeston Randall||Isame Faciane|
|NT||Linval Joseph||Fred Evans||Shamar Stephen||Chase Baker|
|LDE||Brian Robison||Corey Wootton||Jake Snyder||Tyler Scott|
|SLB||Anthony Barr||Gerald Hodges||Dom DeCicco|
|MLB||Jasper Brinkley||Audie Cole||Mike Zimmer|
|WLB||Chad Greenway||Brandon Watts||Michael Mauti||Larry Dean|
|LCB||Captain Munnerlyn||Josh Robinson||Marcus Sherels||Julian Posey||Robert Steeples|
|SS||Robert Blanton||Jamarca Sanford||Mistral Raymond||Chris Crocker||Antone Exum|
|FS||Harrison Smith||Kurt Coleman||Andrew Sendejo||Brandan Bishop|
|RCB||Xavier Rhodes||Jabari Price||Derek Cox||Kendall James||Shaun Prater|
|*SCB||Captain Munnerlyn||Jabari Price||Shaun Prater|
* Slot cornerback was not listed in their official depth chart, but it should be useful to include.
On offense, don’t read too much into the quarterback charts. The Seahawks didn’t release a depth chart but treated Russell Wilson as their number two and the Dolphins listed Ryan Tannehill as their second-string quarterback going into the first preseason game and they both started Week One.
The receivers are listed as “WR” instead of Split End, Flanker and Slot, but it’s clear that WR1 is the split end, WR2 is the flanker and WR3 is the slot. Players have been expected to play every position and likely will as the season progresses, but for now there are some interesting overlaps: Greg Jennings, Jarius Wright and Kain Colter are both flankers and slot players, while Adam Thielen is a slot/split end player. There does not seem to be a split end/flanker crossover, so my guess is that WR3 is being treated like I treated the SCB at the bottom of the defensive depth chart.
The first team on offense in three-receiver sets (Norv has not had four receivers on the field in the last two years, according to NFLGSIS) would probably look like this:
RB: Adrian Peterson
TE: Kyle Rudolph
SE: Cordarrelle Patterson
FL: Jarius Wright
SL: Greg Jennings
A lot of that will change, of course, and that specific set may be more uncommon than common, but in general, that may be how the snap count works out. That specific situation doesn’t imply that Jarius Wright is “ahead” of Jerome Simpson on a depth chart that simply lists the receivers all in one go—Jennings is a flanker, so kicking in would mean the next flanker on the chart is ready to go.
I do think, independent of that, that Wright may be ahead of Simpson.
McKinnon may jump ahead of Asiata soon—he’s been taking a number of snaps with the second team. As always, pass protection will be a big determining factor, and #2/#3 designations may not matter as much as situational play.
Expect Chris Crocker to move up the depth chart quickly and for the Vikings to keep more “strong safeties” from this chart into the season than “free safeties” — though the role is less interchangeable in this defense than the Vikings’ old defense, Zimmer still expects versatility out of the safeties.
The linebackers are of course extremely fluid. The nickel set may take out Barr and Brinkley and put in Hodges, though the coaches do like a Barr/Greenway combination in nickel as well. That may be situational, too. The only linebackers I haven’t seen take significant snaps with the first team are Dom DeCicco, Mike Zimmer and Larry Dean. Of those three, I would imagine Mike Zimmer is the most likely to make any leap—he has quick feet and a good reaction time and has shown that in camp.
The cornerbacks may change with Derek Cox flashing in camp, but we’ll see. Marcus Sherels has had a very good, and surprising, camp so far so may make the roster for more than his special teams play.