Dustin Baker’s Final 53-Man Roster Projection for Vikings

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Aug 27, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Members of the Minnesota Vikings High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings failed to win a game during the preseason after starters, almost in unison, were rested for all three games.

Meanwhile, the new coaching staff received a prolonged look at all other players, culminating in a 53-man regular season roster to be announced on Tuesday.

This is a projection for the roster reveal (players sorted alphabetically).

Quarterbacks (2)

Kirk Cousins Returns to 'NFL Top 100' List
Jul 27, 2022; Eagan, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Who’s In: Kirk Cousins, Nick Mullens

Who’s Out: Sean Mannion, Kellen Mond

That’s a wrap for the summer participants in the Vikings QB2 battle. For the most part, it wasn’t fun to watch, and two men exit-stage-left accordingly. The Vikings finally showcase the offense with Cousins in less than two weeks. Thank God.

Running Backs (4)

Dalvin Cook Sizzles into NFL's 'Top 100'
Jul 28, 2022; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Who’s In: Ty Chandler, Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison, Kene Nwangwu

Who’s Out: C.J. Ham, Bryant Koback

The biggest note of controversy in this projection, we predict Minnesota will move on from Ham as fullbacks aren’t required in a Kevin O’Connell offense.

Wide Receivers (6)

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Jul 29, 2022; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Who’s In: Dan Chisena, Justin Jefferson, Jalen Nailor, K.J. Osborn, Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Adam Thielen

Who’s Out: Trishton Jackson, Bisi Johnson (injured), Myron Mitchell

Tough luck for Bisi Johnson against the Denver Broncos sends Nailor to roster security. Chisena stays for special teams duties.

Tight Ends (3)

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Nov 3, 2019; Kansas City, MO, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Ameer Abdullah (31) and tight end Irv Smith (84) and tight end Kyle Rudolph. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports.

Who’s In: Ben Ellefson, Johnny Mundt, Irv Smith

Who’s Out: Shaun Beyer, Zach Davidson, Nick Muse

If Davidson were a better blocker, he’d make the cut over Ellefson. Alas, he is not. It’s too bad because Davidson is quasi-freakish. He is basically a small forward on the football field.

Offensive Linemen (10)

Infirmary: Vikings without Slew of Starters at DET
Christian Darrisaw

Who’s In: Garrett Bradbury (C), Blake Brandel (OT), Ezra Cleveland (LG), Christian Darrisaw (LT), Jesse Davis (G/T), Ed Ingram (OG), Brian O’Neill (RT), Chris Reed (G/C), Austin Schlottmann (C), Oli Udoh (OT)

Who’s Out: Wyatt Davis, Kyle Hinton, Vederian Lowe, Timon Parris, Josh Sokol

Blake Brandel played his way onto the active roster — kudos to him. The Wyatt Davis dream comes to an end, while Lowe probably lands on the practice squad.

Interior Defensive Linemen (7)

The 5 Things to Monitor in Vikings 1st Preseason Game
Jul 28, 2022; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive lineman Harrison Phillips. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Who’s In: Jonathan Bullard, James Lynch, T.Y. McGill, Harrison Phillips, Dalvin Tomlinson, Jaylen Twyman, Armon Watts

Who’s Out: Esezi Otomewo, T.J. Smith

Don’t look now, but with a dazzling preseason performance, McGill took a roster spot from Gopher rookie Esezi Otomewo.

EDGE Rushers (4)

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Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith

Who’s In: Danielle Hunter, Patrick Jones, Za’Darius Smith, D.J. Wonnum

Who’s Out: Zach McCloud, Janarius Robinson, Luiji Vilain

If the “out” players clear waivers, this is a prime section of the roster to fortify the practice squad. Robinson didn’t do quite enough to make the team — a disappointment considering his youth and draft stock.

Off-Ball Linebackers (4)

Jan 11, 2020; Santa Clara, California, USA; Minnesota Vikings middle linebacker Eric Kendricks. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Who’s In: Brian Asamoah, Troy Dye, Jordan Hicks, Eric Kendricks

Who’s Out: William Kwenkeu, Blake Lynch, Chazz Surratt

Surratt’s failure to make the team is yet another indictment on the Vikings 2021 draft class — well, some of it anyway. Lynch could join the regular season roster instead of Dye, so monitor that one.

Cornerbacks (6)

Patrick Peterson, Danielle Hunter, and Kevin O’Connell’s Strategy to Keep Players Healthy at His First Camp
Jul 28, 2022; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Who’s In: Andrew Booth, Kris Boyd, Cameron Dantzler, Akayleb Evans, Patrick Peterson, Chandon Sullivan

Who’s Out: Nate Hairston, Parry Nickerson, Tye Smith

Boyd was a machine for a few minutes versus Denver, likely solidifying a roster spot. The rest of the cuts are non-mysterious. The Vikings could scour other teams’ roster casualties to fortify this section of the roster this week.

Safeties (4)

Mitch Massman's Vikings 53-Man Prediction
Jul 27, 2022; Eagan, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Who’s In: Camryn Bynum, Lewis Cine, Josh Metellus, Harrison Smith

Who’s Out: Mike Brown, Myles Dorn

Lost in the summer a bit is Lewis Cine’s non-emergence as a starter. Cine will be a starting safety for the Vikings before too long, but he has not seized the job from Bynum yet — something most Vikings faithful believed he’d so seamlessly.

Special Teams (3)

Vikings Make Unexpected Roster Cut
Ryan Wright. Image Courtesy of TulaneGreenWave.com

Who’s In: Jordan Berry (P), Greg Joseph (K), Andrew DePaola (LS)

The final section of the roster is melodramatic because Minnesota fired up the controversy last week when it released Berry in favor of Wright.

And then Wright emphatically proved in Denver why they made the move.

He can hold the ball for field goals, too, a primary fear from Vikings fans when Berry was chopped.


Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).


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