53-Man Roster Prediction for 2022 Vikings

We Know One Thing for Sure about Kellen Mond
Aug 14, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kellen Mond. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings entered training camp and work to get in shape for the upcoming season. Some players, however, won’t make the team.

Currently, 90 players are under contract, and only 53 can be on the roster after the cut day, August 31st. The players have about five weeks with the team, including three preseason games, to positively change decision-makers’ opinions.

Quarterback

  • Keep: Kirk Cousins, Kellen Mond
  • Cut: Sean Mannion

After cutting Nate Stanley recently, the Vikings only carry three QBs on the roster. Most franchises, including the former teams of Kevin O’Connell and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, go into the season with two. Mannion is a candidate for the practice squad if he, indeed, is an important part of the team, as the previous regime always mentioned. From an on-field perspective, Mond should beat him out, as he’s, simply put, more talented.

Running Back

  • Keep: Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison, Kene Nwangwu, Ty Chandler, C.J. Ham
  • Cut: Bryant Koback, Jake Bargas
Jun 9, 2021; Minnesota Vikings running back Kene Nwangwu (26) catches a pass in drills at OTA at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

One of the best position groups on the team, the Vikings will keep five backs on the roster. Cook will start, Mattison, Chandler, and Nwangwu will form the trio of backups, and Ham is an excellent fullback. Ham and Nwangwu are also important special teamers, which makes it easier to carry that many backs. Koback and Bargas are practice squad candidates (especially Koback), and it will be important to see how each man performs in camp and preseason.

Wide Receiver

  • Keep: Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, K.J. Osborn, Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Albert Wilson, Jalen Nailor
  • Cut: Olabisi Johnson, Dan Chisena, Blake Proehl, Thomas Hennigan, Trishton Jackson, Myron Mitchell

Jefferson, Thielen, and Osborn will certainly make the team. Smith-Marsette is the favorite to be the WR4. The final two spots are a tough choice. Wilson and Nailor were brought in by the new regime, which should help them. Chisena could make the team because of his special team heroics. Johnson and Proehl return from torn ACLs and shouldn’t be counted out.

Tight End

  • Keep: Irv Smith Jr, Johnny Mundt, Ben Ellefson
  • Cut: Zach Davidson, Nick Muse, Shaun Beyer

A concerning position group for the Vikings. Smith enters a contract year. He’s talented but still has a lot to prove. Mundt and Ellefson are mainly blocking tight ends. Davidson and Muse are strong practice squad candidates, and it would help the Vikings if one of them shows enough to make the roster. Especially Davidson has a lot of upside because of his athleticism.

Offensive Line

  • Keep: Christian Darrisaw, Brian O’Neill, Ezra Cleveland, Garrett Bradbury, Chris Reed, Jesse Davis, Ed Ingram, Vederian Lowe, Oli Udoh
  • Cut: Blake Brandel, Wyatt Davis, Austin Schlottmann, Kyle Hinton, Timon Parris, Josh Sokol
Jan 9, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings center Garrett Bradbury. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

The starters, and the players competing for a starting job, make the roster. One of Reed, Jesse Davis, and Ed Ingram will start at right guard. Lowe and Udoh are backup tackles. The Vikings may opt only to keep one of them. Brandel could take Lowe’s spot. Wyatt Davis has to show huge improvement.

Defensive Line

  • Keep: Dalvin Tomlinson, Harrison Phillips, Armon Watts, James Lynch, Jonathan Bullard, Jaylen Twyman
  • Cut: Esezi Otomewo, T.J. Smith, T.Y. McGill, Jullian Taylor, Tyarise Stevenson

Tomlinson, Phillips, and Watts are roster locks. Lynch has shown some upside in recent years. Behind him, it’s a close race. Bullard has familiarity with his defensive line coach Chris Rumph and defensive coordinator Ed Donatell. Twyman missed last season, but his quickness and pass-rushing ability make him a valuable asset. Rookie Otomewo is a lock for the practice squad.

Edge Rusher

  • Keep: Danielle Hunter, Za’Darius Smith, D.J. Wonnum, Patrick Jones, Janarius Robinson
  • Cut: Luiji Vilain, Zach McCloud, Andre Mintze
Jun 8, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings outside linebackers Za’Darius Smith (left) and Danielle Hunter. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Vilain and McCloud have upside and are worth a look at the practice squad. Mintze made the Broncos roster last year as an undrafted rookie, so he shouldn’t be counted out. Wonnum, Jones, and Robinson were all mid-round picks of Rick Spielman, and one of them has to take a step forward to be a real alternative for the two stars, Hunter and Smith.

Linebacker

  • Keep: Eric Kendricks, Jordan Hicks, Brian Asamoah, Blake Lynch
  • Cut: Troy Dye, Chazz Surratt, Ryan Connelly, William Kwenkeu

The first three names are locked in. Kendricks and Hicks will start, and Asamoah won’t be cut as a third-rounder. Blake Lynch has shown promise when given the opportunity in 2021. Surratt looks like another wasted third-round selection, but like Wyatt Davis, he has a chance to turn things around. Troy Dye was replaced by a similar player type when the Vikings drafted Asamoah.

Safety

  • Keep: Harrison Smith, Lewis Cine, Camryn Bynum, Josh Metellus
  • Cut: Mike Brown, Myles Dorn

First-rounder Cine has to win the obligatory battle for the starting spot next to Smith. Bynum earned the right to have a camp competition after strong showings in 2021. Metellus was a backup in recent years and will stay in that position.

Cornerback

  • Keep: Patrick Peterson, Cameron Dantzler, Andrew Booth Jr, Akayleb Evans, Chandon Sullivan, Nate Hairston
  • Cut: Harrison Hand, Kris Boyd, Parry Nickerson, Tye Smith
3 Items to Monitor at Vikings Mandatory Minicamp
Jan 9, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson (7) and defensive back Parry Nickerson (39) and cornerback Cameron Dantzler (27) and safety Harrison Smith. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Two of Peterson, Dantzler, and Booth will start. Evans has high potential, and GM Adofo-Mensah is a big fan of him. Sullivan and Hairston can play in the slot and make the team. The first five are probably a lock, while Hairston has to beat out, especially Boyd and Hand. But the scheme familiarity and his knowledge of Donatell will help him.

Specialists

  • Keep: Greg Joseph, Jordan Berry, Andre DePaola
  • Cut: Ryan Wright

Joseph already beat out his competition when undrafted rookie Gabe Brkic was cut. Berry wins his battle against Wright.


Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt

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