The Minnesota Vikings, along with all other 31 NFL teams, have 90 men on roster as the preseason begins. Soon, the process of trimming that number to 53 starts. And the first batch of roster cuts is one week away.
Here’s the timeline:
- August 16: 90 to 85 players
- August 23: 85 to 80 players
- August 30: 80 to 53 players
So, one week from Tuesday, five Vikings exit stage left, with 32 more cuts on the way two weeks later. The whole endeavor unemploys about 1,184 men leaguewide by the end of the month, although some players will land on practice squads.
Minnesota’s training camp to date has been infectious — in a good manner — led by first-year head coach Kevin O’Connell. The Vikings ended eight years of Mike Zimmer in February, after three playoff trips, two playoff wins, and a recent resignation to mediocrity. O’Connell’s youth and enthusiasm, in many ways, is the anti-Zimmer approach.
Among training camp’s most intriguing battles? Right guard, center, QB2, free safety, and starting cornerbacks. None of the men vying for those starting jobs are at risk of release next week, but the competition is well underway to determine the headliners on the depth chart.
Right guard involves a threeway tryst between free-agent signees Jesse Davis and Chris Reed, plus rookie Ed Ingram from LSU. Center is surprisingly up for grabs following comments from O’Connell last week. Incumbent center Garrett Bradbury was spatchcocked a few times to start camp, leading some to the theory that the aforementioned Reed could steal the center job.
QB2 is fluid, too. Kellen Mond and Sean Mannion are jousting for the job behind Kirk Cousins, and both men have looked hot and cold at times. Free safety is an extremely healthy battle as 2022 1st-Rounder Lewis Cine and second-year safety Camryn Bynum are fighting for the starting job in Week 1 versus the Green Bay Packers. Finally, the starting cornerbacks are a mystery, with Patrick Peterson and Cameron Dantzler likely considered the frontrunners to be on the field as outside CBs when September 11th rolls around.
On next week’s cuts, those men will be the personalities who seemingly have “no chance” to make the 53-man roster. Last year at this time, the first to go were Christian Elliss, Danny Etling, Amari Henderson, Warren Jackson, and Dylan Mabin. Yes, those guys.
Next week, these caliber players may miss the cut, although the list is purely speculative;
- Shaun Beyer (TE)
- Mike Brown (S)
- Thomas Hennigan (WR)
- Bryant Koback (RB)
- William Kwenkeu (LB)
- Timon Parris (OL)
- Tyarise Stevenson (DT)
- Ryan Wright (P)
The five-man trim-down will occur after the Vikings first preseason game, which takes place on Sunday at the Las Vegas Raiders. The final game on the docket for Week 1 of the preseason, Minnesota has a date with the Raiders, a team rostering three former Vikings: Ameer Abdullah (RB), Tashawn Bower (EDGE), and Daniel Carlson (K).
It is unclear if O’Connell will play any starters in Las Vegas.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).