Janik Eckardt’s 53-Man Roster Projection for Vikings | 2nd Preseason Game

Aug 5, 2023; Eagan, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Brandon Powell (19) during training camp at Twin Cities Orthopedic Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

More than three weeks into training camp, the Minnesota Vikings have their second preseason contest scheduled on Saturday. The Tennessee Titans will visit U.S. Bank Stadium after already matching up with Kevin O’Connell’s operation in joint practices.

Janik Eckardt’s 53-Man Roster Projection for Vikings | 2nd Preseason Game

With the starters expected to rest, the backups and rookies will get plenty of chances to solidify their roster spots or gain ground on those currently favored over them.

Minnesota has less than four weeks to get ready for the regular season, so the roster will change between now and September 10th. Here’s a look at how the 53-man roster might shakedown.

Note: Many ‘projected to miss 53-man roster’ players will hit the practice squad.

— Offensive Roster Projection — (25)

projection for vikings
Aug 10, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Seahawks linebacker Boye Mafe (53) tries to block a pass by Minnesota Vikings quarterback Nick Mullens (12) during the first half at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback (3)

QB1: Kirk Cousins
QB2: Nick Mullens
QB3: Jaren Hall

Projected to Miss 53-man Roster: Jordan Ta’amu

Nick Mullens solidified his spot as Kirk Cousins’ backup quarterback in the first preseason game. He is the better QB than rookie Jaren Hall at this point. However, the Vikings keep their fifth-rounder as a developmental passer.

Running Back (3)

RB1: Alexander Mattison
RB2: Ty Chandler
RB3: Kene Nwangwu

Projected to Miss 53-man Roster: DeWayne McBride, Abram Smith, Aaron Dykes

The Vikings keep only three running backs and DeWayne McBride is the odd man out. He was clearly outplayed by Ty Chandler and Kene Nwangwu offers elite return ability.

Fullback (1)

FB1: C.J. Ham

Projected to Miss 53-man Roster: n/a

C.J. Ham will play a bigger role than last season.

Wide Receiver (6)

WR1: Justin Jefferson
WR2: K.J. Osborn
WR3: Jalen Nailor
WR4: Jordan Addison
WR5: Brandon Powell
WR6: Trishton Jackson

Projected to Miss 53-man Roster: Jalen Reagor, Blake Proehl, Lucky Jackson, Thayer Thomas, N’Keal Harry, Garett Maag, Jacob Copeland

Brandon Powell beats out Jalen Reagor as a punt returner, making the former first-rounder expendable. Trishton Jackson just missed the roster last season, this time he makes it.

Tight End (3)

TE1: T.J. Hockenson
TE2: Josh Oliver
TE3: Johnny Mundt

Projected to Miss 53-man Roster: Nick Muse, Ben Sims, Colin Thompson

Johnny Mundt was praised as the league’s best TE3 by Kevin O’Connell and is a virtual lock to make the team at this point.

Left Tackle (2)

LT1: Christian Darrisaw
LT2: Vederian Lowe

Projected to Miss 53-man Roster: Jarrid Williams, Chim Okorafor

Sophomore Vederian Lowe takes over for Blake Brandel Christian Darrisaw’s backup.

Right Tackle (2)

RT1: Brian O’Neill
RT2: Oli Udoh

Projected to Miss 53-man Roster: Christian DiLauro

Oli Udoh ran with the first team in Brian O’Neill’s absence and will revert back to the backups once the Pro Bowler is healthy.

Center (2)

C1: Garrett Bradbury
C2: Austin Schlottmann

Projected to Miss 53-man Roster: n/a

Just like last season, Austin Schlottmann will back up Garrett Bradbury.

Left Guard (1)

LG1: Ezra Cleveland

Projected to Miss 53-man Roster: Josh Sokol, Jack Snyder

Blake Brandel will function as a swing guard replacement.

2022 undrafted rookie Josh Sokol is also the backup center and steals a roster spot.

Right Guard (2)

RG1: Ed Ingram
RG2: Blake Brandel

Projected to Miss 53-man Roster: Chris Reed, Alen Ali

The Vikings decided against adding competition for Ed Ingram and expected a second-year jump.

— Defensive Roster Projection (25)

Welp, the Vikings Have a New Magic Number.
Nov 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Patrick Jones II (91) celebrates after defeating the New England Patriots after the game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Outside Linebacker (5)

OLB1: Danielle Hunter
OLB2: Marcus Davenport
OLB3: Patrick Jones
OLB4: D.J. Wonnum
OLB5: Luiji Vilain

Projected to Miss 53-man Roster: Andre Carter II, Benton Whitley, Curtis Weaver

Luiji Vilain and Patrick Jones played well in the first preseason contest and both deserve a spot.

Defensive End (4)

DE1: Harrison Phillips
DE2: Dean Lowry
DE3: Esezi Otomewo
DE4: Jaquelin Roy

Projected to Miss 53-man Roster: Jonathan Bullard, Ross Blacklock, Junior Aho, Sheldon Day

Nose Tackle (1)

NT1: Khyiris Tonga

Projected to Miss 53-man Roster: T.J. Smith, Calvin Avery

The Vikings keep five players for three spots across the defensive line. Marcus Davenport will also line up inside at times.

Middle Linebacker (2)

MLB1: Brian Asamoah
MLB2: Troy Dye

Projected to Miss 53-man Roster: Tanner Vallejo, Abraham Beauplan

Troy Dye’s special teams prowess earns him a roster spot.

Weakside Linebacker (2)

WLB1: Jordan Hicks
WLB2: Ivan Pace, Jr.

Projected to Miss 53-man Roster: Troy Reeder, Wilson Huber

Ivan Pace’s hype train will not be stopped, and the UDFA signing upsets the experienced linebacker Troy Reeder.

Cornerback (6)

CB1: Byron Murphy
CB2: Akayleb Evans
CB3: Mekhi Blackmon
CB4: Joejuan Williams
CB5: Andrew Booth
CB6: NaJee Thompson

Projected to Miss 53-man Roster: Tay Gowan, Kalon Barnes, C.J. Coldon, Jaylin Williams

NaJee Thompson had an outstanding preseason debut on special teams and coordinator Matt Daniels will pound the table for him when Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has to trim the roster to 53 players.

Tennessee Titans safety A.J. Moore Jr. (20) falls with Minnesota Vikings safety Jay Ward (20) during a joint practice with the Minnesota Vikings in Eagan, Minn., Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023.

Safety (5)

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

Projected to Miss 53-man Roster: Theo Jackson

Rookie Jay Ward wins a close race against Theo Jackson as a swiss-army knife safety.

— Special Teams Roster Projection (3)

Kicker (1)

K1: Greg Joseph

Projected to Miss 53-man Roster: n/a

Incumbent kicker Greg Joseph beat challenger Jack Podlesny who was released.

Punter (1)

P1: Ryan Wright

Long Snapper (1)

LS: Andrew DePaola

Kick Returner

KR1: Kene Nwangwu
KR2: Ty Chandler

Punt Returner

PR1: Brandon Powell
PR2: Jalen Nailor

big week for
Aug 3, 2023; Eagan, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell and team owner Ziggy Wilf talk at training camp at TCO Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Minnesota is projected with a repeat win forecast this season as of early August — 8.5 wins. It’s the same Vegas forecast from last year at this time. Most experts believe the franchise immensely overachieved in 2022 with a 13-4 record and will take a step back in Kevin O’Connell’s second year. The franchise has +4000 Super Bowl odds — sharing probability space with the Denver Broncos and New Orleans Saints.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt