Question Of The Week

VT Question of the Week: Which “Surprise” Player Will Make the Final 53-Man Roster?

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.

Andy: Justin Trattou, DE
It was a toss up between CFL aficionado Brian Peters and the fifth-year defensive end from Florida. Sorry, Super Bowl Champion & BCS National Title Winner Justin Trattou (have to go with the full title). Trattou has The Gerald Hodges Factor to him — whenever he’s on the field, good things happen. It’s been true in his limited action the past two seasons (and last preseason) as a Viking and this exhibition stretch as well. The Man from Maywood has six tackles, a sack, and two passes defended through three games that don’t count. Scott Crichton looked decent in his first action of the season and is obviously on scholarship being a third-round selection last season (he redshirted last year basically, too) and Danielle Hunter is a lock as well, being this year’s edition of a third-round defensive end pick and a dark horse candidate for Mr. Mankato. But I think Trattou has a shot to make the 53 to start the 2015 season (signed as a free agent Week 6 of 2013, began 2014 on the practice squad), if the Vikings decide to carry five defensive ends. Ironically, I think Trattou would see regular action first if heaven forbid Everson Griffen or Brian Robison went down, but he’s expendable, as Crichton or Hunter would never make it through waivers trying to sneak them down to the practice squad. I’m on #TeamTrattou, though, and think he’ll have a solid 2015 season if he gets in the ranks of Zimmer’s platoon.

Austin: Brian Peters, LB
When the Vikings signed Peters in February, I thought it was nothing more than a “depth” move, meant to add a body to a position the front office wanted to improve this offseason. Though less athletic than other reserves like Brandon Watts and less important to  special teams than Mike Mauti, Peters has shown a knack for the football through three preseason games. He’s recovered a fumble, nearly returned an interception for a touchdown, and consistently makes plays when given a chance. I think Mike Zimmer and his staff like what Peters brings to the team, and I believe he has a chance to contribute somewhere on special teams at some point this season.

Lindsey: Tyrus Thompson, OL
There are a few names floating through my head on this question (my wishful thinking wants to go with Chase Ford), but I’m landing with Thompson. The rookie didn’t have a fantastic end to camp, which could hurt him, but he still offered plenty of glimpses at a player who’s higher caliber than the late-round pick many expected. I’d say worst-case scenario he holds a practice squad spot, but I really think he has a chance at ending up in the final 53. Especially considering Phil Loadholt being out for the season, the Vikings need some depth at the line. Carter Bykowski is also out for the season, and Babs won’t make the cut. I think I’ll be the unpopular opinion taking Thompson over Austin Shepherd, but there you have it; I’m predicting that Thompson’s experience at left tackle could give him the upper hand here.

We’ll forego the poll this week, because there are so many possibilities of guys to put there, but we would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section!

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Lindsey Young

Lindsey Young (Featured Columnist) is a graduate of University of Northwestern – St. Paul and is an avid Minnesota sports fan[atic]. It’s been argued females don’t know much about sports, but she begs to differ. Her work has been featured on Bleacher Report,, and Fox Sports North. In addition to her work with VT, Lindsey is a contributing writer for Canis Hoopus, runs a bi-monthly fan feature for and is a freelance writer for You can read her blog at Making the Call and follow her on Twitter.

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  1. I’m going to say ford and Thomas. As much as I liked Zach line in the past I don’t think that he has been blocking good at all and I think Thomas is more versatile than kern and shepherd

    1. At this point, Line may only keep a spot as a fourth running back rather than as a blocking fullback or H-back. If it’s between Line, Banyard, Harris and Williamson for the #4 RB, who do you think would stick?

    1. Good choices, and good choice to add Edmond Robinson. I’ll throw in Zac Kerin into the surprise pile.

    2. yup, as Paul Allen says, no way he stays on the Practice Squad with all these 3-4 defenses out there.

  2. I think back to a day at training camp when a little boy said “who is that that?” when Brian Peters was signing autographs along the fence. Brian smiled and said ” Don’t worry, everybody will know my name soon enough.” Brian is humble, hardworking, and an extremely intelligent football player who has the it’ factor needed to come out of seemingly nowhere to not only make the 53 man roster, but make an impact on it as well. Brian is such an easy guy to get behind and root for, unlike Austin Shepherd who may very well be the rudest player I’ve ever witnessed in a lifetime of following the Vikings.

    1. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve liked what I’ve seen of Peters, but ”Don’t worry, everybody will know my name soon enough.” doesn’t really sound like humility to me; more like quiet confidence, I think.

      1. Brian was saying that with a grin upon his face. I assure you this guy is humble. When I had a photo of him he thanked me for taking the time to print a photo of him to get signed, shook my hand, and told me he greatly appreciated me taking the time to do that. I have managed to get a signature from every player to appear at camp or signed later in season to regular roster or practice squad over the last 9 years so have quite a bit of experience interacting with players on the team. This year’s camp had some new players that were absolute gems with fans and Brian is one of those. Leon Mackey,Jalil Carter, and Carter Bykowski are a few others that jump out as having great back stories and by all accounts are great people off the field. Watch Jalil interact with his friend from camp Tanner by player entrance tunnel prior to games at TCF for a small glimpse of what can happen when a player doesn’t think they are bigger than the game. I might have clouded judgement as I always tend to cheer for the underdogs. Brian is an underdog worth cheering for. I also am not a happy camper when I read that my home team has led the NFL in arrests over the last 10 years. I’m not asking for a roster of Bethel and Northwestern grads… but a roster that can stay out of the police blotter would be refreshing.

  3. Hate to say it but it might be time to let Greenway go to make room for young talent

    1. And Newman, too, maybe, if they’re willing to let Munnerlyn start outside and then slide into the slot. Without Newman, they could keep two out of three of Thomas, Sherels and Prater to give them 10 defensive backs.

      If the Vikes cut Greenway and if they keep seven linebackers (Barr and Hodges on the outside, Kendricks or Cole in the middle), it’ll still come down to Mauti vs. Watts. vs. Robinson vs. Peters for the last three back-up spots.

  4. Trattou is a lock, not a surprise. Thompson, a rookie at a position of need, is also not a surprise.

    1. Trattou is not a lock if they keep both Crichton and Hunter but if they do keep only six linebackers, yes, I think Trattou will stick. I tend to agree about Thompson IF we keep nine offensive linemen on the active roster, in which case we don’t have to put either Thompson or Shepherd on the practice squad. I hope we go with nine and not eight OL’s, but it’s not a certainty.

    1. Good point. A normal college free agent could be expected to sneak through waivers and land on the practice squad but given how highly Harris was rated prior to the draft, I’d be shocked if some other team wasn’t looking to pounce on him.

  5. Chase Ford was our best tight end in camp and last year. Why would they cut him. Maybe a trade. Rudolph might bring a pretty good offensive lineman. His durability stinks. I like Ford until Pruitt is ready.