Carl: Josh Thomas, CB
When the Vikings agreed to terms with Josh Thomas on July 24, I didn’t think he had much of a chance to make the 53-man roster. After a strong camp and a great showing against the Raiders (six tackles, a tackle for loss and an interception), Thomas is making a case that he belongs on this football team. With Josh Robinson on the PUP, Jabari Price looking at a two-game suspension and Stefon Diggs flashing as the real deal for punt returner (sorry Marcus Sherels), Thomas might be earning more than just a short-term look. With 10 starts under his belt with the Carolina Panthers, the 2011 fifth-round pick by the Dallas Cowboys may not be a “major” surprise at this point, but he is peaking at the right time and earns my pick to make the cut.
Brent: Chase Ford, TE
Going out on an absolute limb here. I realize it seems crazy to carry four tight ends — but I wonder if the Vikings choose to carry an extra tight end in place of a fullback. As I’ve noted in my piece projecting the final 53-man roster, I would value Ford’s receiving abilities more than I would Line’s lead blocking. There are a variety of reasons for this, but I like the opportunity to run the offense in more 3 WR sets without a lead blocker, and Rudolph’s injury history leaves me wanting another receiving tight end. Additionally, Ellison’s and Pruitt’s ability to fill in as a lead blocker if needed ensures the Vikings don’t need to be forced to carry a fullback.