The first depth chart of a training camp will never match the first depth chart of the regular season. A big part of the process of camp is to figure out how to best use the resources a team has available to them, and that often means shaking up the depth chart.
In addition to that, pre-camp injuries and impending NFL suspensions will also take their toll on the early depth chart. Right now, injuries to Pat Elflein and Stacy Coley will make it difficult to project the rest of the depth chart — the domino effect down the chart has to be taken into account.
With all that in mind, here’s what we can glean from the early walkthrough session:
The receiver depth chart might be the most difficult to figure out, as a suspension for Cayleb Jones might mean more rotation with the rest of the receivers. Not only that, the receiver depth chart will always be tougher to figure out if only because receiver rotation happens more often than any other kind of rotation — it’s not unusual to see third-team receivers rotate in with the rest of the first-team offense during training camp.
With all that in mind, the above represents our best guess at the depth chart based on how rotation occurred during the first walkthrough of training camp. Pat Elflein’s injury pushed Nick Easton to guard and allowed Tom Compton to play left guard. That meant that Danny Isidora took his place and Cornelius Edison played right guard on the second team.
The third running back spot rotated fairly often, but Mack Brown took the first third-team rep, with Mike Boone following.
This year, the defense was particularly difficult to figure out. The Vikings rotated their defensive backs just as easily as they did with the receivers on offense, making for some confusing pairings. Nevertheless, this is what we could figure out:
Mike Hughes and Terence Newman have rotated in the slot, and both of them have seen some play with the first team, meaning that there are really five cornerbacks whose role we know for sure. Holton Hill seems to have a bit of a head start, but I saw a healthy rotation of Horace Richardson in with the second team as well.
Despite the fact that Jack Tocho’s designation with the official team roster changed from safety to cornerback, he saw reps at safety in walkthroughs.
We’ll see what happens with the linebackers long-term, but for now it looks like Antwione Williams is the sixth linebacker until someone dethrones him from that spot. Eric Wilson and Kentrell Brothers — whose suspension will cause some worries for the Vikings once the season starts — are pretty firmly entrenched as the fourth and fifth linebackers.
At defensive tackle, the only sure thing further down the depth chart (at the moment) seems to be Jaleel Johnson taking second-team reps. He did so in base and in nickel, with the other potential three-techniques taking reps after him. Instead of Tashawn Bower, we saw Ifeadi Odenigbo as the third edge-rusher on nickel sets, though there’s a good chance that will be rotated throughout camp.
Things will change, but for fans itching to see how the Vikings look to round out their roster, the first walkthrough gives us an early look.