5 Takeaways from the Vikings Depth Chart Release

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As the Minnesota Vikings gear up for their first preseason game of the 2023 schedule, Kevin O’Connell unveiled his first depth chart of the season. While it shouldn’t be viewed as gospel, plenty should be taken away from the initial reveal.

5 Takeaways from the Vikings Depth Chart Release

In year two under Kevin O’Connell, the Minnesota Vikings will look to stave off regression stemming from multiple wins where they truly threaded a needle. Looking to establish a better defensive unit, Brian Flores was brought in to overhaul the group from a coaching perspective. The NFC North looks as wide open as ever, but how far the Vikings go will rely heavily on execution.

There are plenty of returning faces for the Vikings in 2023, and many position groups are headed up by expected names. Not everyone is Kirk Cousins or Justin Jefferson, though, so taking a look at some interesting areas on the initial depth chart provides plenty of intrigue.

Running Back

from the Vikings Depth
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It seems notable that it is Kene Nwangwu and not Ty Chandler as the second running back behind Alexander Mattison on the initial depth chart. Nwangwu has virtually never played a consistent running back dating to college, and he has much more utility as a returner. Chandler looked the part of a true running back during limited action last year, and he figured to be the next man up behind Mattison.

With Dalvin Cook completely gone from the Vikings organization, reliance on the fringes of the depth chart at running back will be imperative. How much run DeWayne McBride gets during the preseason and how he looks during those chances could set him up for future opportunities this year.

Wide Receiver

In a shocking turn of events, Justin Jefferson is the clear WR1. Really though, it’s behind him where things are surprising. K.J. Osborn is listed as the second wideout rather than first-round pick Jordan Addison. The assumption for Week 1 was that the USC product would line up opposite of Jefferson, but as of now, the number two spot goes to the veteran.

It remains to be seen if the Vikings stick with that pecking order as the preseason goes on, but expecting Addison to contribute early and often should still be the plan. The Vikings did recently add N’Keal Harry to the organization, and while he has never lived up to the hype, there is a chance he could make the club.

Inside Linebacker

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Not unexpectedly, there is a shakeup at the linebacker position after the departure of longtime veteran Erick Kendricks. Brian Asamoah has been fully elevated to the starting lineup, and it could truly be time to cut him loose. The second-year player looked like a steal out of the draft last year, and he provided plenty of excitement in limited action.

Starting for the first time in his career, Asamoah could truly round out into one of the most explosive players for new defensive coordinator Flores. Asamoah’s ascent to the top of the depth chart has been one to watch, and now what he does with it could take him to the next level.


Arguably the most raw position group on the Vikings roster, and maybe across the league, both Byron Murphy and Akayleb Evans represent a changing of the guard. Neither was atop the Vikings depth chart last year, and Murphy is new to the organization.

Minnesota does have solid depth in Andrew Booth Jr., Joejuan Williams, and rookie Mekhi Blackmon, but the realization of that depth requires the younger pair to continue development and show it on the field.


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Unsurprisingly, Harrison Smith remains in a starting role atop the Vikings depth chart. The future Hall of Famer will be relied upon heavily at the back of the defense again this year. It’s Cam Bynum that starts alongside him, though, rather than the returning and healthy 2022 first-round pick, Lewis Cine.

Cine should have ample opportunity to overtake a starting role, and Minnesota certainly saw him as a fixture when they grabbed him a year ago. It remains to be seen how he will integrate following the gruesome injury a year ago, but all the talent is there.

The Vikings depth chart has plenty of areas to improve, but they also feature a group that boasts raw talent with developmental trajectory. Just how quickly some of that takes place this year could be the season’s top storyline.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.