Predicting a team’s final 53-man roster is a hapless procedure. As many hours as one could spend analyzing a team’s roster and the million different possibilities, you could never nail a team’s final roster. There are just too many variables on cutdown day, and the Minnesota Vikings are no different than the other 31 teams in the NFL.
With teams constantly working on their rosters, from once they’re eliminated from the playoffs to free agency, the draft, training camp, and throughout the regular season, a roster is never quite complete. But for the most part, a roster can take shape, with the bulk of the depth chart settled, aside from maybe a few surprises.
Knowing that we’ll never come close to predicting the exact 53-man roster the Minnesota Vikings will end up with, it’s still an absolute blast of an exercise. So here we go, let’s dive into our Vikings 53-man roster projection, which will be updated until the cutdown date.
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When do teams have to get down to 53 players?
- Teams cut from 80 down to 53 players on August 30
Cutting down to 53 players is a very difficult process. Teams start at 90 players, and they spend hours of time with each athlete, hoping to help them reach their full potential in the limited time they’re given. Some can acclimate themselves quicker than others, giving themselves a one-up on the competition, while others leave it all on the field, flashing their ability on the gridiron. However they do so, everyone is striving toward one goal — reaching the final 53.
If that doesn’t work, there’s always the practice squad. If cut, players have the option of signing on with another team. And everyone would rather be on a team’s final 53 instead of landing with an organization’s practice squad.
Any member of the practice squad can be added to the active roster on game day, but it’s not the same as having the security of being on the roster all the time.
Even if a player is cut from the roster, it doesn’t mean their time with the team is done. They can always latch on with the practice squad, which has a capacity of 16 players. Yet it also means any player cut from the team likely isn’t in their plans on gameday, meaning they won’t have a role unless an injury occurs. This gives everyone a strong idea of how their roster will look on gameday, with active rosters limited to 46 players.
Related: Minnesota Vikings training camp 2022: Schedule, tickets, location, and everything to know
Minnesota Vikings 53-man roster projection
Here is the link to the Vikings’ unofficial depth chart, which was revealed on August 10. But that’s not what you’ll find down below. Instead, we’ve come up with our own predictions, knowing that their public chart is set to fluctuate drastically as the preseason goes along.
Here’s the Vikings 53-man roster projection.
|QB (2)||Kirk Cousins||Nick Mullens|
|RB (4)||Dalvin Cook||Alexander Mattison||Kene Nwangwu||Ty Chandler|
|WR (5)||Justin Jefferson||Adam Thielen||K.J. Osborn||Ihmir Smith-Marsette||Dan Chisena|
|TE (3)||Irv Smith Jr.||Johnny Mundt||Zach Davidson|
|LT (2)||Christian Darrisaw||Blake Brandel|
|LG (2)||Ezra Cleveland||Chris Reed|
|C (2)||Garrett Bradbury||Austin Schlottmann|
|RG (2)||Ed Ingram||Jesse Davis|
|DE (3)||Dalvin Tomlinson||James Lynch||Esezi Otomewo|
|NT (2)||Harrison Phillips||T.Y. McGill|
|DE (2)||Armon Watts||Jaylen Twyman|
|OLB (2)||Danielle Hunter||Patrick Jones II|
|MLB (4)||Eric Kendricks||Troy Dye|
|MLB||Jordan Hicks||Brian Asamoah|
|OLB (3)||Za’Darius Smith||D.J. Wonnum||Janarius Robinson|
|CB (5)||Patrick Peterson||Andrew Booth Jr.|
|FS (2)||Camryn Bynum||Lewis Cine|
|SS (3)||Harrison Smith||Josh Metellus||Miles Dorn|
|CB||Cameron Dantzler||Akayleb Evans|
|LS||Andrew DePaola||KR Kene Nwangwu||PR Ihmir Smith-Marsette|
- O: 24
- D: 26
- ST: 3
- Total: 53
Related: Overpaid or underrated: 2022 outlook for Vikings QB Kirk Cousins
16-man practice squad:
- Kellen Mond, QB
- Jalen Nailor, WR
- Trishton Jackson, WR
- Wyatt Davis, OG
- Vederian Lowe, OT
- Olisaemaka Udoh, OT
- Ben Ellefson, TE
- Nick Muse, TE
- Jonathan Bullard, DL
- T.J. Smith, DL
- Blake Lynch, LB
- Chazz Surratt, LB
- Luiji Vilain, LB
- Parry Nickerson, CB
- Kris Boyd, CB
- Mike Brown, S
- PUP list – Ryan Connelly, LB
- PUP list – Blake Proehl, WR
- IR – Bisi Johnson, WR
As a reminder, the NFL recently changed practice squad eligibility rules, allowing a maximum of six veterans with no limitations to games or seasons accrued. This allows the Vikings to keep veterans like Parry Nickerson on the practice squad, where he can still be around the team.
Cut from the roster:
- Sean Mannion, QB
- Bryant Koback, RB
- Myron Mitchell, WR
- Timon Parris, OT
- Kyle Hinton, OG
- Josh Sokol, C
- Zach McCloud, LB
- William Kwenkeu, LB
- Tye Smith, CB
- Nate Hairston, CB
Vikings roster cutdown decisions
- QB: The Vikings really don’t have a need for three QBs to be on the roster. Trying to slip Kellen Mond onto the practice squad is a gamble, but it’s also difficult to see a team wanting to carry him on their roster all season, knowing he’s not ready for action. Sean Mannion easily could reach the practice squad, but with the addition of Nick Mullens, it makes more sense to continue developing Mond and roll with Mullens as the backup. Mannion can come be a coach if he wants, but he’ll likely try to latch on elsewhere.
- RB: It’s possible Alexander Mattison is traded, but his size actually works as a great backup option to pound the rock at the goal line. There’s no need to trade a player who’s the second-best runner on the team. Plus, he’s likely only to bring back no higher than a fifth-or-sixth-round draft pick. The others, Nwangwu, Chandler and Ham are all safe.
- WR: Trimming the receivers may be one of the toughest choices KO will have to make. The top four are locked in. It’s really about who the fifth and possibly sixth receivers are. Having a very fast (some might say the fastest on the team), Dan Chisena could be valuable on special teams in a gunner role, which is what making the roster as a fringe player is all about, adding value. We’ve heard great things about the speed of Jalen Nailor and have seen the production from Trishton Jackson and Myron Mitchell, they could complicate the final decision.
- TE: Based on his previous ties to O’Connell and coordinator Wes Phillips, Johnny Mundt’s TE2 role should be safe. Meanwhile, Cousins seems to like Zach Davidson, and it’s hard to let a 6-foot-7 guy with quickness walk free. Yet, Ben Ellefson is an asset as a blocker. It’s hard to envision four tight ends making this roster, they’ll likely carry an extra receiver instead. Nick Muse is a seventh-round rookie, and while he’s shown his hands need work, he’s a likely practice squad candidate too.
- OL: Blake Brandel seems to have already earned the swing tackle role as the third tackle, but this line has a lot of positional versatility. Do we maybe see a guy like Jesse Davis let go if Ed Ingram continues to run away with the starting right guard gig? Chris Reed and Austin Schlottmann’s spots are likely safe, being that they can also play multiple positions, including center. We haven’t seen much from Wyatt Davis, he’s likely cut since this regime has no ties to the 2021 third-round pick, yet his play in Week 2 of the preseason was solid. We’re still not ready to move on from Davis entirely, hoping to squeeze him onto the practice squad. Vederian Lowe is a rookie sixth-rounder. If it comes down to him or Oli Udoh, Lowe’s the pick for the practice squad as the Vikes have plenty of other versatile linemen with experience.
- DL: This is a position that features a lot of recent draft picks, and we don’t envision any of them getting cut. Maybe they try and land Ezesi Otomewo on the practice squad, but that might be risky as a fifth-round rookie. Jonathan Bullard is the one guy I’d keep an eye on, maybe to steal Otomewo’s spot, but that’s why he’s on the practice squad in my prediction. T.Y. McGill looks to be a nice find as a 29-year-old journeyman, and it’s hard to ignore his dominance, racking up 3.5 sacks in the preseason, and this team needs a backup nose tackle.
- LB: Here we have a lot of competition, particularly at the backup middle linebacker spots. The Vikings would like to see some growth from 2021 third-rounder Chazz Surratt, otherwise there are plenty of more game-ready options on the roster. Blake Lynch and Troy Dye have the most experience, but we’ll go with Dye. Honestly, no one really emerged from the pack during preseason play. Whoever the fourth linebacker is won’t see any snaps aside from special teams. Zach McCloud may be a candidate for the practice squad, but it all depends on what happens with the others ahead of him on the depth chart.
- DB: Perhaps the most important spots on the 2022 Vikings roster come down to the defensive backfield. We have five corners as locks, with Peterson, Dantzler, Booth, Sullivan and Akayleb Evans. The Vikes will probably keep six. The starting safety battle could be interesting, but the play of Cam Bynum can’t be ignored, yet I have a hard time believing they won’t want their first-round pick, Lewis Cine, on the field in some capacity. But we haven’t seen anything to suggest his nose for the ball is more advanced than Bynum just yet. Dorn and Metellus are core special teamers, they won’t see any defensive snaps, but should have no issue making the final cut. Kris Boyd hasn’t shown enough growth, while Dorn has. Dorn snags the final spot in the secondary.
- ST: Kene Nwangwu may see a bigger offensive role, but not big enough to justify pulling him off kick returns. Ihmir Smith-Marsette looks likely to be a punt returner for the first time in his career, and he has the elusiveness and acceleration to make it work.
There are always a few surprises on cutdown day. Sometimes it’s a player heading to the PUP list or injured reserve (like Bisi Johnson after tearing his ACL). Maybe the Vikings make a minor trade, swapping a player from a position of strength in order to address an area of weakness. For now, this is how we project the Vikings’ final 53 to look, but we know the end result will be way off. It’s still a fun exercise.
This is our final Vikings 53-man roster prediction for this season.
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