7 Predictions for Vikings ‘Surprise’ Roster Cuts

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The Minnesota Vikings will formulate a regular season roster in eight days as the NFL mandates roster cuts on August 29th.

7 Predictions for Vikings’ Surprise’ Roster Cuts

The club has one final preseason game this Saturday to adjudicate players before the leaguewide ‘cut day.’

Here are the VikingsTerritory writers’ theories for surprise roster cuts — in the vein of Armon Watts and Ihmir Smith-Marsette last year.

1. D.J. Wonnum (OLB)

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Prediction Maker: Ali Siddiqui

The 4th-year DE/LB had 4 sacks last season after having 8 the previous year. He started one game last year after starting in 14 the previous year.

The Vikings will save $2,743,000 if they release him. Third-year pass rusher Patrick Jones II should also play a bigger role this year, which could make it tougher for Wonnum to stick around.

2. Chris Reed (OG)

Viking Took
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Prediction Maker: Adam New

Blake Brandel’s transition to guard sees the Vikings part ways with the veteran in favor of the younger player. Austin Schlottman and Oli Udoh can provide cover at guard, center, and tackle, respectively.

3. Andre Carter II (OLB)

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Prediction Maker: Kyle Joudry

Certainly not what I want to occur, but the preseason has been just average for the rookie pass rusher. A lot of hype given the UDFA deal, but I wonder if the team will have an open spot for him given the crunch that’s occurring at other positions.

4. Sheldon Day (DT)

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Prediction Maker: Nate Powalie

He’s a steady journeyman who locks in on the interior trenches. The only problem against him is the Vikings already have a healthy amount of talent on the defensive line. Thus, I see his status as a question mark to stick in Minnesota past the August 29 cut deadline. That — and I don’t know how well he would mesh with new D-coordinator Brian Flores’ scheme.

t5. Oli Udoh (OL)

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Prediction Maker: Josh Frey

Udoh’s second preseason game simply wasn’t good enough to inspire confidence heading into the regular season. Meanwhile, Vederian Lowe has continued to look like he can contribute to an NFL roster.

If Udoh is cut, expect Blake Brandel to move back to tackle, and hopefully, Chris Reed returns healthy, or the Vikings reach a deal with a free-agent guard (Dalton Risner is still out there).

t5. Oli Udoh (OL)

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Prediction Maker: Ted Schwerzler

With Blake Brandel as a guard currently but capable as the better tackle backup, Udoh’s spot isn’t necessarily needed.

t6. DeWayne McBride (RB)

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Prediction Maker: Janik Eckardt

Ty Chandler vividly outplayed the rookie running back in the preseason, and McBride hasn’t looked any better than a practice squad candidate. With Chandler and Kene Nwangwu providing depth, the Vikings only keep three running backs in addition to fullback C.J. Ham but try to sneak him onto the practice squad.

t6. DeWayne McBride (RB)

DeWayne McBride on First Impressions of Being a Viking & Translating College Success to the NFL. Vikings.com’s Tatum Everett talked with Minnesota Vikings rookie running back DeWayne McBride from the TCO Studios. The Vikings selected McBride in Round 7 of the 2023 NFL Draft.

Prediction Maker: Dustin Baker

The Vikings front office has auditioned free-agent running backs right and left, resulting in contracts for Abram Smith and Aaron Dykes. Smith and Dykes aren’t on the current roster to replace Alexander Mattison; they’re prospective candidates to take RB3 or RB4 jobs.

Dynasty fantasy football players grimace, and McBride hits the practice squad.

t7. Kene Nwangwu (RB/KR)

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Prediction Maker: Wes Johnson

Nwangwu has missed both preseason games this year with an undisclosed injury.

That injury won’t do him any favors in solidifying a roster spot as second-year pro Ty Chandler has solidified the RB2 role, and recently drafted Dewayne McBride has done enough to bank a role with the team. Nwangwu’s special teams prowess won’t afford him the luxury of missing the chopping block this year as others, such as Brandon Powell, have filled in admirably in his wake.

Look for Kwesi to try and trade the speedster before an outright cut.

t7. Kene Nwangwu (RB/KR)

Roster Spot Could Change
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Prediction Maker: Will Goodwin

Although Kene Nwangwu was listed as RB2 on the initial unofficial depth chart, an undisclosed injury has sidelined him, clearing the way for Ty Chandler, who has performed well in Nwangwu’s absence.

Possessing an explosive kick returner is less valuable in 2023 than in years past with the dawn of the fair catch on kickoffs. Given that Nwangwu has primarily made his living returning kicks since 2021, the rule change in and of itself puts his roster spot in jeopardy. Additionally, players like Chandler and Brandon Powell could be used as returners and have done more to earn roster spots than Nwangwu thus far.

t7. Kene Nwangwu (RB/KR)

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Prediction Maker: Cole Smith

Nwangwu hasn’t practiced for most of camp, and his main niche, kick returning, is being further minimized by the NFL this year. He hasn’t shown enough on offense through two years to prove he can have a seamless transition when he returns healthy.

Bonus Roster Cut Prediction —

Jalen Reagor (WR)

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Prediction Maker: Sean Borman

The Vikings are going to have some tough decisions to make at wide receiver. Justin Jefferson, KJ Osborn and Jordan Addison are locks to make the team. Who fills out the depth isn’t so clear.

Jalen Nailor returned to practice on Monday. That’s clearly a sign he’s ready to play. With an IR stint now looking unlikely to start the season, that’ll make things a little more interesting. Assuming all goes well in his return to the field this week, Nailor is in the best position to retain his WR4 role moving forward.

When Addison hasn’t practiced (concussion symptoms), Jalen Reagor and Brandon Powell have stepped in to take his place. During these respective opportunities, both have looked solid.

Reagor has been consistent, securing most passes that come his way with a few “oh wow” catches sprinkled in.

Powell has stood out with a number of highlight-worthy plays in camp. He’s also the #1 punt returner, and that’s big. Last year, Reagor was WR5 as well as the punt returner, but he was unable to make much of an impact in either role. It doesn’t seem like a stretch that Powell has the skill set to replace Reagor in both roles at a cheaper cost.

For those worried about Reagor’s contract, a source confirmed that Reagor has offset language in his contract which would give the team a cap credit IF he were released and signed with another team. The cap credit wouldn’t be received until 2024.

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).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.