The Minnesota Vikings have cut their roster down to 53 players, and for the first time in over a decade open their roster with two quarterbacks. One of them, of course, is recently-acquired Sam Bradford. Quarterback Joel Stave has reportedly been invited to the practice squad, while Taylor Heinicke has hit the reserve/non-football injury list.
This is subject to change as the Vikings scour the waiver wire and free agency.
Here is my guess at the depth chart.
Obviously, the special-teamers are unaffected, with Blair Walsh as the kicker, Jeff Locke as the punter and Kevin McDermott as the long snapper.
Sam Bradford could not start week one, depending on how familiar he is with the terminology and offense. He has spent several years with Pat Shurmur (as an offensive coordinator in St. Louis and as a quarterback’s coach in Philadelphia) and has spent three years in a system using Coryell terminology under Brian Schottenheimer.
T.J. Clemmings is likely the first backup at both tackle spots with Sirles behind him in either case. Rhett Ellison at tight end will be difficult to predict, but they took him off the PUP list recently (which one cannot go back on once one is taken off), which is a good sign.
Michael Griffin headed to injured reserve is interesting, but entirely at the discretion of the Vikings because he was healthy enough to play in a preseason game but is injured enough to justify an IR spot to the league if challenged. If they wanted to cut him entirely, they could have (with an injury settlement) and if they wanted to start him, they could have simply kept him on the roster.
This means the Vikings are happy with some combination of Andrew Sendejo/Anthony Harris/Jayron Kearse at safety.
With seven linebackers on the roster, the Vikings are probably going to find someone to cut here once Taylor Heinicke comes back sometime around mid-October.
With Kendricks injured all preseason (Zimmer mentioned that he would have played in the final preseason game if it was a regular game), and Anthony Barr plagued with minor injury issues all year, it does make sense to stack the roster with linebacker depth. Chad Greenway’s age and recent injury history is worth considering, too.
The Vikings probably have the best (or one of the best) five-deep at cornerback, and with the league’s best punt returner in the sixth spot, it’s difficult to do anything but keep ten total defensive backs.
That put pressure on the defensive line, where the Vikings only kept eight. Excellent performances from Toby Johnson and Zach Moore were not enough to overcome the depth need at linebacker or the stacked nature of the cornerback corps, but I expect one or both to make the practice squad.
Still, this has to be the best eight-deep along the defensive line in the NFL, even if it’s not the best top-four.
Rumored to hit the practice squad are WR Moritz Böhringer, RB C.J. Ham, QB Joel Stave, DE Stephen Weatherly, CB Tre Roberson and TE Kyle Carter. So far, there’s not much movement on Johnson or Moore, though I expect both are favorites for the spot.