What We Got Right and Wrong from the Vikings 53-Man Roster Prediction
The Minnesota Vikings finalized their initial 53-man roster on Tuesday afternoon.
Prior to that, I made a Vikings 53-man roster prediction over the weekend, and today, we are going to go over what we got right and wrong from that prediction.
Correct: TE Nick Muse Makes It
One of the big questions for the Vikings roster this summer revolved around the tight end position. Just how many of the talented players would they keep? Obviously, T.J. Hockenson, Josh Oliver, and Johnny Mundt were safe, but the Vikings had a talented trio behind them in Nick Muse, Ben Sims, and Colin Thompson.
Considering the Vikings look to be moving towards more of a “12 personnel” look in 2023, I predicted that Minnesota would keep a fourth tight end in Muse. Ultimately, that was proven correct as the 2022 seventh-round pick made the team.
Incorrect: Vikings Keep Oli Udoh
Oli Udoh has been a capable swing tackle over the course of his NFL career, but with the seeming rise of Vederian Lowe, I predicted that the 2022 sixth-round pick would make the team instead. However, that all changed on Sunday evening when the Vikings traded Lowe to the New England Patriots.
At the end of the day, this job title involves backing up one of the best tackle tandems in the league in Christian Darrisaw and Brian O’Neill. This means that we shouldn’t see much of the LT2 regardless of who got the spot, so Udoh is a fine player to keep around.
Correct: NaJee Thompson’s Special Teams Prowess Was Enough
NaJee Thompson has had an unusual path to the NFL as he largely played wide receiver before switching over to corner and especially special teams. However, this unusual path is precisely what landed him on the Vikings 53-man roster.
Thompson burst onto the scene by making a couple very strong plays as the punt gunner for Minnesota, and our assumption that this role would land him on the roster was proven correct.
Incorrect: The Last LB/OLB Spots
The prediction got Minnesota’s linebacker group wrong in a couple of ways. Firstly, my theory involved the Vikings only keeping three off-ball linebackers on the team in order to free up space for other positions such as CB. This was incorrect as Troy Dye made the team. while Joejuan Williams was cut.
Then, the Vikings opted to keep Andre Carter on the final 53 rather than Luiji Vilain. I had Vilain on the final roster rather than Carter. Vilain had a very strong summer, but it seems that Minnesota was more worried about Carter being claimed off waivers than Vilain. They were correct as Vilain went unclaimed and should be a practice squad candidate.
Correct: Vikings Cut DeWayne McBride
DeWayne McBride’s production at UAB quickly started the hype train in Minnesota when he became a seventh-round pick. However, the young RB is still a bit of a one-trick pony without much production as a receiver and lackluster blocking skills.
As a result, the Vikings cut him, but seeing as McBride is another player who went unclaimed on waivers, don’t be surprised if the RB is back on the practice squad soon.
Incorrect: Jonathan Bullard Sticks Around
My assumption here was similar to the Vederian Lowe/Oli Udoh situation. I thought the Vikings would part ways with Bullard and save some cap space while giving their 2022 fifth-round pick Esezi Otomewo an opportunity to prove himself.
Instead, Minnesota kept Bullard around after he started 7 games for the Vikings in 2022. Again, there are no real issues with this decision, and Otomewo could come back to the practice squad.
Incorrect: Vikings Keep 6 Safeties
Another position where the Vikings had some very strong depth is at safety. I assumed that they would have to cut at least one of these players and had Theo Jackson as the odd-man out. Instead, Minnesota opted to keep all six players and they roll into the season with a very full room at the position.
It also meant trimming down on the interior offensive line. I had Alan Ali making the team, but he was waived on Tuesday.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.