5 Players Surprise Cut Candidates for Vikings

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Most Vikings fans look ahead at the NFL draft, as the purple team is in the market for a quarterback. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has already acquired the necessary ammo to trade up into the draft’s top ranks, which ensures him the choice of one of the top passers. Depending on his draft selections, some guys currently on the roster could be in jeopardy.

5 Players Surprise Cut Candidates for Vikings

The following list will include five such players who may lose their jobs because of injuries, underwhelming performances, or because they have simply been replaced. Players who are obvious longshots to make the 53-man roster will not be included.

Lewis Cine

The 2022 first-rounder has barely played a role on defense for the Minnesota Vikings, logging only ten defensive snaps in two seasons. His gruesome injury cost him the majority of the rookie season, and the long recovery time surely wasn’t helpful in his sophomore campaign. However, he couldn’t get on the field and was even inactive for big chunks of 2023.

5 Vikings Who Are Surprise Cut Candidates
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His intriguing athletic tools haven’t translated to the NFL level, and the defensive coordinator who drafted him for his scheme is no longer around. In addition to that, the Vikings employ five other safeties. Josh Metellus, Harrison Smith, and Camryn Bynum will be on the team. Theo Jackson and Jay Ward were ahead of Cine last year. Unless the Vikes carry the unusual amount of six safeties again, the former Georgia standout is in trouble, regardless of draft status.

Jalen Nailor

Jalen Nailor, another 2022 draft choice, didn’t have one freak injury like Cine but annual minor issues that keep him off the field. The former Michigan State wideout missed all but six games in 2023, and his potential breakout season ended with 29 receiving yards. In four college seasons, Nailor only logged 26 games.

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While he has shown flashes in 2022, Nailor can’t stay on the field. Since availability is the best ability, he could be on the outside looking in when the Vikings announce the 53-man roster, especially if they add another wideout in the outstanding draft class.

Nick Mullens

The quarterback position is always tricky to project, but it’s pretty simple this time. If Minnesota acquires a quarterback in the draft, and they are expected to do so, it would bring the number of passers to four—one too many.

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New starter Sam Darnold and the rookie would be safe, jeopardizing Jaren Hall’s and Nick Mullens’ future. One of them would be gone; it depends on whether the Vikings want to keep the veteran or the sophomore. Hall looked overwhelmed when he had to take the field last season, while Mullens was a turnover machine. The decision will be between Hall’s upside as a younger player and Mullens’ veteran presence.

Patrick Jones

Just a few weeks ago, Patrick Jones was the team’s top pass-rusher, with Danielle Hunter, D.J. Wonnum, and Marcus Davenport slated to be free agents. They all left, but Jones dropped to EDGE4 on the depth chart because of three signings. Andrew Van Ginkel and Jonathan Greenard will start, and veteran Jihad Ward should be expected to be a backup.

Aaron Jones
Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) is tackled by Minnesota Vikings linebacker Patrick Jones II (91) during their football game on Sunday, January 1, 2023, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. Wm. Glasheen USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin.

Would the Vikings have signed Ward if Jones was more highly regarded within the organization? If they like 2023 rookie Andre Carter, and keeping him on the team last season indicated that they do, and Ward is ahead of him, Jones might not make the team.

C.J. Ham

Not every team in the league carries a fullback, but the Vikings still do. Ham is one of the best in the business, which obviously helps his case. In addition to his on-field play, his leadership in the locker room is another reason to keep him.

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There is another side to it, though. Head coach Kevin O’Connell designs the offense but hasn’t used the Minnesota native much. From 2019 to 2021, Ham logged roughly 400 snaps on offense per season. In 2022 and 2023, he tabulated that many combined. His touches are also about half of what they used to be.

The coaching staff has always praised him, but considering the potential savings of $2.5 million against the salary cap and the continued minor role, crazier things happened.

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