Adam New’s Final Roster Prediction for Vikings

Adam New's Final Roster Prediction for Vikings
Nov 14, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Minnesota Vikings middle linebacker Eric Kendricks. © Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports.

We are only days away from NFL teams finalizing 53 man rosters on August 30.

At the time of publication, the Minnesota Vikings have 80 players on their roster, needing to cut a further 27 to reach the magic number of 53. Some decisions will be routine, while others will be hard to make. Factors like whether the new regime value experience or youth and potential more will come into play — something we can’t be sure of as this is the first rodeo for Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell.

With one more preseason left for players to change opinions, here are my thoughts on what they might do and my Vikings final roster prediction.

Quarterback

Keep: Kirk Cousins, Nick Mullens

Cut: Sean Mannion, Kellen Mond

The trade for Mullens ended the conversation of who will be backup to Cousins. The only question left is whether it’s worth using a roster spot to keep Mond around. I don’t think so. Next year’s draft will be time for the Vikings to try again in the QB draft lottery. The Mond experiment is over before it started.

Running Back

Alexander Mattison and Dalvin Cook
Alexander Mattison and Dalvin Cook

Keep: Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison, Kene Nwangwu, Ty Chandler, CJ Ham

Cut: Bryant Koback

If the Vikings could find a trade partner for Mattison, they may be tempted to let him leave. I don’t see that happening, which leaves the Vikings with a packed running back room reminiscent of the Mike Zimmer era. However, I have Ham running double duties as fullback and a sort of TE3. Rookie Ty Chandler has impressed enough to warrant a roster spot and probably leave the Vikings comfortable with letting Mattison go at the end of his contract.

Wide Receiver

Keep: Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, KJ Osborn, Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Olabisi Johnson, Jalen Nailor, Trishton Jackson

Cut: Dan Chisena, Myron Mitchell

I have seven receivers on the roster. It’s arguably the strongest position group on the roster, and I wanted to maximize what I got from it. Jackson has been the preseason surprise and has earned his roster spot, while Nailor’s returning skills sneak him in. I believe Johnson has a valuable role as a short routes guy in O’Connell’s offense. Cutting Chisena will mean the Vikings must find a new gunner on special teams.

Tight End

Keep: Irv Smith, Johnny Mundt

Cut: Ben Ellefson, Zach Davidson, Nick Muse

As previously stated, I envision the Vikings using CJ Ham as a hybrid player, which means getting involved in the passing game where the TE3 would. The three who get cut are all candidates for the practice squad, especially considering Irv Smith’s recent injury woes. In my opinion, if the Vikings want to roster a third tight end, they need to find a new one.

Offensive Line

Keep: Christian Darrisaw, Ezra Cleveland, Garrett Bradbury, Ed Ingram, Brian O’Neill, Austin Schlottman, Chris Reed, Jesse Davis, Vederian Lowe

Cut: Oli Udoh, Blake Brandel, Timon Parris, Kyle Hinton, Wyatt Davis, Josh Sokol

As always, center is a big problem for the Vikings. Unfortunately, injury has prevented us from seeing Reed so far in the preseason — to see if he can be the answer. Confidence in Bradbury doesn’t seem to be there, and if the Vikings were to make another move, this would be the position. Schlottman has looked ok in the preseason games, and the uncertainty over the position gets him a roster spot over Brandel, who the Vikings will hope to get back on the practice squad. Udoh’s time with the Vikings ends in favor of keeping rookie Lowe.

Defensive Line

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Jul 28, 2022; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive lineman Harrison Phillips. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Keep: Dalvin Tomlinson, Harrison Phillips, Armon Watts, James Lynch, Jaylen Twyman, TY McGill, Esezi Otomewo

Cut: Jonathan Bullard, TJ Smith

Tomlinson, Phillips, and Watts are the starters, with Lynch and the defensive surprise of preseason McGill as the next in line. I keep Twyman and Otomewo on the roster for their potential rather than risking trying to get them back for the practice squad.

Edge Rushers

Keep: Danielle Hunter, Za’Darius Smith, DJ Wonnum, Patrick Jones

Cut: Janarius Robinson, Zach McCloud, Luiji Villain

The four keepers pick themselves. Robinson has been a disappointment after missing all of his rookie season. Along with McCloud and Villain, he is a candidate for the practice squad.

Linebacker

Keep: Eric Kendricks, Jordan Hicks, Brian Asamoah, Blake Lynch

Cut: Troy Dye, Chazz Surratt, 

Kendricks, Hicks, and Asamoah are locked in after Asamoah’s eye-catching performances in the preseason. For me, Lynch is the obvious fourth choice after his performances last year. Surratt is the third player cut from last year’s third-round draft picks that promised so much and has delivered so little.

Cornerback

Keep: Patrick Peterson, Cameron Dantzler, Andrew Booth, Chandon Sullivan. Akayleb Evans, Kris Boyd

Cut: Nate Hairston, Parry Nickerson, Tye Smith

Peterson and Dantzler start, Sullivan is the slot corner, and Booth and Evans are the rookies who will look to impress this year. The final spot is between Boyd and Hairston, with Nickerson certain not to make it. I give the edge to Boyd due to his special teams ability.

Safety

Keep: Harrison Smith, Camryn Bynum, Lewis Cine, Josh Metellus

Cut: Myles Dorn, Mike Brown

Bynum and Cine will compete to start next to Smith, and the Vikings will probably find plenty of ways to have all three on the field. As a special teams contributor, Mettelus rounds out the group.

Specialists

Keep: Greg Joseph, Ryan Wright, Andrew DePaola

Joseph has been on fire during the preseason, except when they switched holders from Jordan Berry to Wright. For that reason, I expected Berry to win the punting job. The Vikings instead chose to go with Wright, and the three specialist positions are decided.



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