Adam New’s Final Roster Prediction for Vikings
We are only days away from NFL teams finalizing 53-man rosters on August 30.
At the time of publication, the Minnesota Vikings have 80 players on their roster, needing to cut a further 27 to reach the magic number of 53. Some decisions will be routine, while others will be hard to make. Factors like whether the new regime value experience or youth and potential more will come into play — something we can’t be sure of as this is the first rodeo for Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell.
With one more preseason left for players to change opinions, here are my thoughts on what they might do and my Vikings final roster prediction.
Keep: Kirk Cousins, Nick Mullens
Cut: Sean Mannion, Kellen Mond
The trade for Mullens ended the conversation of who will be backup to Cousins. The only question left is whether it’s worth using a roster spot to keep Mond around. I don’t think so. Next year’s draft will be time for the Vikings to try again in the QB draft lottery. The Mond experiment is over before it started.
Keep: Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison, Kene Nwangwu, Ty Chandler, CJ Ham
Cut: Bryant Koback
If the Vikings could find a trade partner for Mattison, they may be tempted to let him leave. I don’t see that happening, which leaves the Vikings with a packed running back room reminiscent of the Mike Zimmer era. However, I have Ham running double duties as fullback and a sort of TE3. Rookie Ty Chandler has impressed enough to warrant a roster spot and probably leave the Vikings comfortable with letting Mattison go at the end of his contract.
Keep: Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, KJ Osborn, Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Olabisi Johnson, Jalen Nailor, Trishton Jackson
Cut: Dan Chisena, Myron Mitchell
I have seven receivers on the roster. It’s arguably the strongest position group on the roster, and I wanted to maximize what I got from it. Jackson has been the preseason surprise and has earned his roster spot, while Nailor’s returning skills sneak him in. I believe Johnson has a valuable role as a short routes guy in O’Connell’s offense. Cutting Chisena will mean the Vikings must find a new gunner on special teams.
Keep: Irv Smith, Johnny Mundt
Cut: Ben Ellefson, Zach Davidson, Nick Muse
As previously stated, I envision the Vikings using CJ Ham as a hybrid player, which means getting involved in the passing game where the TE3 would. The three who get cut are all candidates for the practice squad, especially considering Irv Smith’s recent injury woes. In my opinion, if the Vikings want to roster a third tight end, they need to find a new one.
Keep: Christian Darrisaw, Ezra Cleveland, Garrett Bradbury, Ed Ingram, Brian O’Neill, Austin Schlottman, Chris Reed, Jesse Davis, Vederian Lowe
Cut: Oli Udoh, Blake Brandel, Timon Parris, Kyle Hinton, Wyatt Davis, Josh Sokol
As always, center is a big problem for the Vikings. Unfortunately, injury has prevented us from seeing Reed so far in the preseason — to see if he can be the answer. Confidence in Bradbury doesn’t seem to be there, and if the Vikings were to make another move, this would be the position. Schlottman has looked ok in the preseason games, and the uncertainty over the position gets him a roster spot over Brandel, who the Vikings will hope to get back on the practice squad. Udoh’s time with the Vikings ends in favor of keeping rookie Lowe.
Keep: Dalvin Tomlinson, Harrison Phillips, Armon Watts, James Lynch, Jaylen Twyman, TY McGill, Esezi Otomewo
Cut: Jonathan Bullard, TJ Smith
Tomlinson, Phillips, and Watts are the starters, with Lynch and the defensive surprise of preseason McGill as the next in line. I keep Twyman and Otomewo on the roster for their potential rather than risking trying to get them back for the practice squad.
Keep: Danielle Hunter, Za’Darius Smith, DJ Wonnum, Patrick Jones
Cut: Janarius Robinson, Zach McCloud, Luiji Villain
The four keepers pick themselves. Robinson has been a disappointment after missing all of his rookie season. Along with McCloud and Villain, he is a candidate for the practice squad.
Keep: Eric Kendricks, Jordan Hicks, Brian Asamoah, Blake Lynch
Cut: Troy Dye, Chazz Surratt,
Kendricks, Hicks, and Asamoah are locked in after Asamoah’s eye-catching performances in the preseason. For me, Lynch is the obvious fourth choice after his performances last year. Surratt is the third player cut from last year’s third-round draft picks that promised so much and has delivered so little.
Keep: Patrick Peterson, Cameron Dantzler, Andrew Booth, Chandon Sullivan. Akayleb Evans, Kris Boyd
Cut: Nate Hairston, Parry Nickerson, Tye Smith
Peterson and Dantzler start, Sullivan is the slot corner, and Booth and Evans are the rookies who will look to impress this year. The final spot is between Boyd and Hairston, with Nickerson certain not to make it. I give the edge to Boyd due to his special teams ability.
Keep: Harrison Smith, Camryn Bynum, Lewis Cine, Josh Metellus
Cut: Myles Dorn, Mike Brown
Bynum and Cine will compete to start next to Smith, and the Vikings will probably find plenty of ways to have all three on the field. As a special teams contributor, Mettelus rounds out the group.
Keep: Greg Joseph, Ryan Wright, Andrew DePaola
Joseph has been on fire during the preseason, except when they switched holders from Jordan Berry to Wright. For that reason, I expected Berry to win the punting job. The Vikings instead chose to go with Wright, and the three specialist positions are decided.