Adam New’s Early 53-Man Roster Prediction for Vikings

Defender Still Listed
Aug 3, 2023; Eagan, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Danielle Hunter (99) during training camp at TCO Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

We are heading towards the start of Year 2 under the stewardship of Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell. It went reasonably well for the Vikings general manager and head coach in Year 1.

Adam New’s Early 53-Man Roster Prediction for Vikings

However, despite a 13-win season, outside of the Vikings orbit, expectations for the 2023 Minnesota Vikings appear lukewarm at best. That won’t deter those in Minnesota who will look to make triviality of the opinions of media experts once again. Who are the men that will be charged with making this happen? Here is my early final Vikings roster prediction.

Vikings Final Roster Prediction

I have an equal split of 25 on offense and 25 on defense, with three special teamers. Most places on the roster appear set in stone, with just a few spaces on the roster with genuine competition.


adam new
Aug 10, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O Connell and Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) during warmups prior to the game at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports.

Quarterback (3)

Keep: Kirk Cousins, Nick Mullens, Jaren Hall

Cut: n/a

Will Jaren Hall do enough in the preseason games to usurp Nick Mullens as Kirk Cousins’ backup? I don’t think so. However, the Vikings want to keep the rookie around for an extended look.

Running Back (4)

Keep: Alexander Mattison, Ty Chandler, Kene Nwangwu, DeWayne McBride

Cut: Abram Smith

No surprises here, although Kareem Hunt would shake things up. As proven with Dalton Risner, visits don’t always lead to immediate signing. 

Fullback (1)

Keep: C.J. Ham

Cut: n/a

For two years, I’ve gone into the offseason thinking the end for Minnesota’s favorite fullback is nigh. C.J. Ham is still here and still the heartbeat of this team.

Wide Receiver (5)

Keep: Justin Jefferson, K.J. Osborn, Jordan Addison, Jalen Reagor, Jalen Nailor

Cut: Brandon Powell, N’Keal Harry, Blake Proehl, Trishton Jackson, Lucky Jackson, Thayer Thomas, Garrett Maag, Jacob Copeland

I wasn’t alone in writing off Jalen Reagor’s future in Minnesota, but an eye-catching performance in the opening preseason game saw him steal a march on the competition to round out the depth chart at wide receiver. Brandon Powell, who I thought had a good chance of making the roster, is the casualty. Jalen Nailor snags a place on the roster, with the top three receivers obvious.

Tight End (3)

Keep: T.J. Hockenson, Josh Oliver, Johnny Mundt

Cut: Colin Thompson, Nick Muse, Ben Sims

Will the Vikings carry three or four TEs, and who will find a place on the roster next to T.J. Hockenson and Josh Oliver? Im going for Johnny Mundt as the third and only addition. The former Ram is the incumbent TE3 from last season, and it’s up to the others to beat him out.

Tackle (4)

Keep: Christian Darrisaw, Brian O’Neill, Oli Udoh, Vedarian Lowe

Cut: Jarrid Williams, Chim Okorafor, Christian DiLauro

With Blake Brandel transitioning to guard, Vedarian Lowe stands out as the man to take the final roster spot at tackle. The Vikings have one of the best starting tackle duos in the league and a capable backup in Oli Udoh.

Guard (3)

Keep: Ezra Cleveland, Ed Ingram, Blake Brandel, 

Cut: Chris Reed, Josh Sokol, Jack Snyder

It surprises me that the Vikings haven’t addressed the guard position, even after bringing Dalton Risner in for a visit. Behind the starters, I have the Vikings going with Blake Brandel, who is transitioning from tackle as the primary backup. In emergency, Oli Udoh and Austin Schlottmann can be used, but it’s the area of the roster that causes me the most concern.

Center (2)

Keep: Garrett Bradbury, Austin Schlottmann

Cut: Alan Ali

No change from last season.


Vikings to Showcase
Minnesota Vikings Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center. Flores was hired in February 2023 to take over for Ed Donatel after Minnesota finished 30th in points allowed.

Outside Linebacker (6)

Keep: Danielle Hunter, Marcus Davenport, Patrick Jones, D.J. Wonnum, Luiji Villain, Andre Carter II

Cut: Benton Whitley, Curtis Weaver

It seemed to take forever, but Minnesota eventually reached an agreement with their star pass rusher. Danielle Hunter will lead the Vikings defense in 2023 alongside a group of pass rushers with plenty to prove. I’ve been greedy and taken six OLBs, hoping Brian Flores can get inventive and use players in the defensive front in a multitude of ways to warrant the exuberance.

Defensive End (4)

Keep: Harrison Phillips, Dean Lowry, Esezo Otomewo, Jaquelin Roy

Cut: Jonathan Bullard, Ross Blacklock, Junior Aho, Sheldon Day

The interior defensive line is another roster area with serious question marks. I’m only taking four players, with a view for Hunter and Wonnum being used with their hands in the dirt at times. Jonathan Bullard and Ross Blacklock are the notable casualties, as I favor Adofo-Mensah’s draft picks to support Harrison Phillips and Dean Lowry.

Nose Tackle (1)

Keep: Khyiris Tonga

Cut: T.J. Smith, Calvin Avery

Khyiris Tonga showed promise in a relatively small sample size last season, so trusting him as the sole nose tackle is a leap of faith. If needed, Phillips could do the role, but Tonga proving himself as a reputable and consistent starter would be huge for this Vikings defense.

Linebacker (4)

Keep: Jordan Hicks, Brian Asamoah, Ivan Pace Jnr, Troy Reeder

Cut: Troy Dye, William Kwenkeu, Abraham Beauplan, Wilson Huber

Brian Asamoah has been expected to start the season next to Jordan Hicks, with undrafted rookie Ivan Pace Jnr coming up like a steam train as the next man up. It was a surprise to me that Pace went undrafted, and he’s already doing a good job of proving people wrong. I want one more linebacker, and it’s a choice between three, Troy Reeder, Troy Dye, and William Kwenkeu. Due to the inexperience of Asamoah and Pace, I value the 25 career starts Reeder has to his name.

Cornerback (5)

Keep: Byron Murphy, Akayleb Evans, Joejuan Williams, Andrew Booth, Mekhi Blackmon

Cut: Tay Gowan, Kalon Barnes, C.J. Coldon, NaJee Thompson, Jaylin Williams

I split the defensive backs to five a piece for CBs and safeties. Byron Murphy is the standout player, and Akayleb Evans seems to be leading the race to partner him on the perimeter. My high hopes for Andrew Booth are starting to waver. He needs to start making an impression in the preseason. Rookie Mekhi Blackmon rounds out the group.

Safety (5)

Keep: Harrison Smith, Lewis Cine, Camryn Bynum, Josh Metellus, Jay Ward

Cut: Theo Jackson

I could have gone with just four safeties, but I really like this group, which offers a blend of experience and youth, hard-hitting and athleticism. How Flores uses this group to help a cornerback room with a look of vulnerability could make or break the Vikings season. 

Special Teams

Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings place kicker Greg Joseph (1) celebrates with holder Ryan Wright (14) after kicking a field goal in the first half against the New Orleans Saints during an NFL International Series game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The Vikings defeated the Saints 28-25. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Keep: Greg Joseph (kicker), Ryan Wright (punter), Andrew DePaola (long snapper)

Cut: Jack Podelsny (kicker)

The only question to be answered on special teams is who the placekicker will be. Will the Vikings go with Greg Joseph for a third season or undrafted rookie Jack Podelsny? Joseph has had lapses but has also made some match-winning kicks. I think the Vikings stick with the South African.