General News

Vikings Release Week 1 Depth Chart with a Few Surprises

Although it is titled as unofficial, the Minnesota Vikings released their latest depth chart on Tuesday. Nothing was too shocking about the players listed as starters, but the order of their backups is where things begin to get interesting.

On offense Shaun Hill is currently listed as the starting quarterback with Sam Bradford as his backup. Not too surprising here given that Bradford has not even been on the roster for five days.

The most shocking news of the day may be the listing of the Vikings running backs!

No, not really. Adrian Peterson is listed as the starter while Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata are listed as his backups (boring).

All kidding aside, the wide receiver portion of the depth chart may actually be the most interesting section. While it is no surprise that Charles Johnson and Stefon Diggs are listed as Minnesota’s starting wideouts, fifth-year receiver Jarius Wright is listed at the bottom of the depth chart.

What is the reasoning to explain for Wright’s apparent fall? Unsure as of now, but recent reports have come out that the team is trying to trade the wide receiver.

Despite not participating in Vikings’ training camp this summer or playing in any of the team’s preseason games, Rhett Ellison still finds his name listed as the second tight end on Minnesota’s depth chart behind Kyle Rudolph. His standing seems to bode well for his health, as his status for at least the beginning of the season was a bit in doubt.

The starting offensive line looks a little different than 2015 with the additions of left guard Alex Boone and right tackle Andre Smith. These two will join left tackle Matt Kalil, center Joe Berger, and right guard Brandon Fusco in creating gaping holes for Peterson to run through this season.

The starters listed on defense is the most un-exciting part of this chart. Come Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, the Vikings’ starting defense will feature the 11 players who started a majority of the team’s games last year.

It is a bit disappointing that cornerback Trae Waynes was unable to crack the starting lineup in his second season after Minnesota used a first round draft selection on him in 2015. Although, his time on the field will likely be an increase from his rookie year and he should have plenty of opportunities to overtake Terence Newman’s starting spot on the defense.

There may be a few changes before Sunday’s game but for now, this is the lineup the Vikings feel most confident about heading into Tennessee.

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Adam Patrick

Adam has been rooting for the Vikings ever since he saw Randall Cunningham win NFC Special Teams Player of the week in 1997. Since his career sports highlights include 3rd place at 5th Grade Golf Camp and catching a ball during a soccer game (he was not playing goalie), Adam turned to writing. He considers himself a 'Vikings Realist' as he does not shy away from criticizing the purple and gold if necessary. He will not always write about the popular topics, but his goal is to provide readers with content they cannot find anywhere else. Follow him on Twitter @Str8_Cash_Homey

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  1. Couple of WR thoughts here.

    – Thielen as WR3 = evidence of biggest difference between Zim and Frazier/Chilly when it comes to roster management. How so? Zimmer rewards guys who are playing well, and Thielen (I believe) has legitimately scrapped his way to WR3. What other WRs besides Diggs and Johnson have performed better than him? I think when a team sees this, it solidifies huge buy in and respect of the coaching staff, because the competition is true, and likely everything the staff is staying is true as well.
    – Having said that, I really wish the depth chart included who the ‘starters’ are at slot WR and slot CB. Munnerlyn is a top 2-3 corner for us, but looks like a 2nd or 3rd string guy. Wright is currently WR6, but might be slot WR2, which is very different. WR6 seems like a step removed from the practice squad, while slot WR2 probably still gets 5-10 snaps a game on offense.
    – re: Ellison as TE2. This one feels like ‘you don’t lose your starting job to injury’ kind of thing. Would be surprised if he says there after the first few weeks unless he looks like his old self out on the field. Figured Pruitt would’ve had it locked up, at least before the injury.
    – re: Waynes. This is the only one I disagree with. I thought Waynes looked clearly better than Newman did this preseason. Perhaps not entirely mistake free, but Newman’s ‘mistakes’ were that he’s lost a step and got burned, whereas Waynes still has the athleticism to recover. I’ll take that at this point. It’s not like a Greg Biekert situation at CB for us.
    – Mike Harris. I’m feeling like this is the one thing that’s really going to hurt us over the season. I wish we had another option at RT (well, both tackles, but especially right). Hopefully Sparano was calling vanilla protections this preseason, but I’m concerned about our run blocking. Not convinced out tackles can reliably seal the edge, and if so it’s going to be a lot of what we saw last year. Harris at least would be legit competition and could push guys. I get the feeling like Smith isn’t too worried about his playing time.

    1. “Figured Pruitt would’ve had it locked up, at least before the injury.” Not until he’s a better blocker than Ellison.

      “I really wish the depth chart included who the ‘starters’ are at slot WR and slot CB.” Agreed. 11 men to a side or not, the fact is that there are essentially two base offenses and defenses now, one with the slot and one without.

      “I wish we had another option at RT (well, both tackles, but especially right).” I wouldn’t be at all shocked – or unhappy – if Sirles and Clemmings end the season starting at RT and LT, respectively.