The 3 Big Surprises from Vikings Depth Chart Release

Future Suddenly
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The Minnesota Vikings first ‘unofficial’ depth chart is out. You can read the team’s edition here and our translated iteration here.

The 3 Big Surprises from Vikings Depth Chart Release

Most believed K.J. Osborn would maintain the WR2 job — at least for a while — over 1st-Round rookie Jordan Addison. And that happened. Offensive linemen Blake Brandel (previously an OT) and Josh Sokol (previously a center) evidently switched to offensive guard. And undrafted free-agent rookies Ivan Pace Jr. (LB) and Andre Carter II (OLB) haven’t really climbed the depth chart yet.

The 3 Big Surprises
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With those factoids out of the way, these are the three biggest surprises from the depth chart release, ranked in ascending order (No. 1 = most surprising).

3. Camryn Bynum at Starting Free Safety

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Camryn Bynum played every single defensive snap for the 2022 Vikings. In that vein, it should be no surprise the third-year defender has landed a tentative starting job in 2023.

But the team also employs Lewis Cine, a 1st-Rounder from the 2022 NFL Draft. At some point, Cine must take over a starter’s job, or he’ll risk the naughty ‘bust’ mentions. Cine missed most of his rookie campaign because of a terrible leg fracture, so perhaps the Vikings are gradually working him into the new system.

Bynum also kept veteran Josh Metellus at bay on the depth chart, and Metellus has been touted all offseason by NFL media and general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah as a ‘breakout’ player or ‘hero.’

At least to start the festivities, it’s Bynum at free safety.

S1: Harrison Smith
S2: Camryn Bynum
S3: Lewis Cine
S4: Josh Metellus
S5: Jay Ward
S6: Theo Jackson

2. Akayleb Evans as the ‘Other’ Starting CB

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The long very long offseason debate about the ‘other starting CB job’ is taking form. At the moment, Akayleb Evans has ousted Andrew Booth and Joejuan Williams for the gig, according to the depth chart release.

Evans played wonderfully as a rookie, making a splash against the Washington Commanders last November when former Viking Cameron Dantzler was injured. Then, though, Evans succumbed to multiple concussions as a rookie, and like Cine above, his first season was put on ice.

He’s got control of the concussion matter now, evidenced by the CB2 placement on the Vikings depth chart. Moreover, Booth should emerge before too long for regular season playing time, as that’s what 2nd-Rounders do.

CB1: Byron Murphy
CB2: Akayleb Evans
CB3: Andrew Booth
CB4: Joejuan Williams
CB5: Mekhi Blackmon
CB6: Kalon Barnes
CB7: Jaylin Williams
CB8: Tay Gowan
CB9: NaJee Thompson
CB10: C.J. Coldon

1. Kene Nwangwu Apparently at RB2

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No Dalvin Cook? No problem — the Vikings employ five RBs as of August 7th, from Alexander Mattison, Kene Nwangwu, Ty Chandler, DeWayne McBride, to newcomer free-agent Abram Smith.

Many Vikings fans pegged Ty Chandler for RB2 duty, but the first depth chart seemed to plop Nwangwu in the spot. He’s the team’s dazzling kick returner — who also plays running back.

Folks will see Nwangwu in living color Thursday night — especially if the RB2 tag is genuinely attached — when the Vikings travel to Seattle for the first preseason game. Nwangwu enters Year Three in 2023, so it makes sense that now would be ‘his time.’

RB1: Alexander Mattison
RB2: Kene Nwangwu
RB3: Ty Chandler
RB4: DeWayne McBride
RB5: Abram Smith

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 Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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