Check out beat reporter Sam Ekstrom’s breakdowns of each position group as he ultimately takes a stab at predicting the 53-man roster.
The league’s spotlight was squarely on Minnesota this offseason to see what would come of its quarterback situation. The result: A near-complete overhaul of the position. With three starting-caliber quarterbacks entering free agency, the Vikings let them all walk in search of a bigger prize — a move that will have ripple effects across the NFL for potentially the next several years.
The Vikings made the most of a two-headed running back tandem last year after rookie Dalvin Cook tore his ACL in Week 4, but with one half of that tandem departing when Jerick McKinnon went to San Francisco, Minnesota will be in search of another running back to shoulder some responsibility behind a healthy Cook and Latavius Murray.
The Vikings continue to feature one of the best receiving tandems in football with Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, but there are questions beyond that. Is this the last chance for a former first-round pick? Did the Vikings make a good Wright-for-Wright exchange? And which youngsters can fill the remaining spots?
The Vikings returned their top three tight ends from a season ago and added another in the draft in addition to a pair of prospects. Minnesota has long been searching for another offensive weapon to pair with Kyle Rudolph at tight end. Is he in this group? Let’s take a look.
The Vikings improved mightily last season as an offensive line unit, allowing the seventh-fewest sacks and blocking for the seventh-most rushing yards. With the retirement of right guard Joe Berger, many thought the Vikings would attempt to land a marquee free agent or first-round draft pick to fill the gap, but in terms of acquisitions, they settled for a journeyman swing lineman and a second-round tackle in the offseason.
A stout defense that allowed the fewest yards and points last season was once again anchored by its defensive line, which stifled the run and made life miserable for opposing quarterbacks, particularly on third down. Minnesota made one key addition in free agency, but with a bevy of young prospects on the roster, the Vikings would be wise to start grooming depth as their core begins to age.
With their core members back, the Vikings should again be strong at linebacker … presuming nobody gets hurt. There are backup jobs up for grabs after the team let veteran Emmanuel Lamur walk in free agency. A suspended third-year player could also complicate matters entering Week 1.
The Vikings have good depth and continuity at corner. Nonetheless, there could still be a changing of the guard in a couple areas. Forty-year-old Terence Newman looks to hang on to his spot in the slot, while 30-year-old Marcus Sherels hopes to continue moonlighting as a backup corner as he returns punts.
The Vikings seem to be set at safety after a quiet offseason at the position. Harrison Smith and Andrew Sendejo begin their fourth year as the presumed starting duo, while their top two backups appear to be the same.
For the second straight year, the Vikings have an offseason kicker competition. Will a rookie fifth-round pick surpass the veteran Kai Forbath?
Now that we’ve previewed each position, let’s consolidate the projections into one big 53-man roster prediction.
Check out the rest of the training camp guide:
How to Watch Training Camp Drills
Sitting Brian O’Neill: Have “Developmental” Day Two Offensive Linemen Succeeded?
Pay Attention to Tryout Players
Can Kirk Cousins Be the Savior? (COMING SOON)