Take a pencil and attempt to carve the Minnesota Vikings roster to 53 names. The task is daunting.
With the regular season 82 days away, ESPN did just that on Tuesday, forecasting the Vikings final roster for Week 1. While the list was not rim-rattling, Kevin Seifert from ESPN did author a handful of interesting snubs.
These are those players in alphabetical order.
Wyatt Davis (OG)
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
Two years ago, Davis was a man possessing fringe 1st-Round draft stock. Now, according to ESPN, he can’t make a 53-man roster for a team with notoriously bad offensive line production.
The Vikings signed several possible solutions at right guard, Davis’ natural OL spot, including Jesse Davis, Chris Reed, and Ed Ingram (the draft). Those men made Seifet’s 53-man cut-off, and Wyatt Davis did not.
If he’s released, some team will sign Davis hoping to resurrect his once-promising career from the Buckeye days. For now, though, Davis is a forgotten man in the backdrop of the Vikings summer.
Ihmir Smith-Marsette (WR)
If one ranked Vikings roster cuts by surprise value, Smith-Marsette would take the cake.
The Vikings and their fans have big plans for the Iowa alumnus as he came on strong in the last couple of games of 2021. Seifert disagrees. According to him, the Vikings will keep Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, K.J. Osborn, Bisi Johnson, Albert Wilson, and rookie Jalen Nailor.
Amid that sixsome, Smith-Marsette is on the outside looking in. One has to wonder if his current injury played a factor in ixnaying the 22-year-old. Regardless. Smith-Marsette not in Minnesota’s 2022 plans would be weird.
Chazz Surratt (LB)
Surratt earns the “snub” noun because of his draft stock. Ex-general manager Rick Spielman found Surratt in the 3rd Round of the 2021 NFL Draft. More often than not, 3rd-Round off-ball linebackers get a chance to showcase their skillset in the regular season.
If Surratt is a roster cut, he won’t do that for the Vikings. He didn’t play a single defensive snap in 2021, so a banishment from the 2022 roster would indicate full bust status for the North Carolina native.
Jaylen Twyman (DT)
You probably know about Twyman because he was shot multiple times last summer.
Those gunshots didn’t keep Twyman down, however, as the Pittsburgh alumnus will battle for a Vikings roster spot this summer. The only problem? ESPN isn’t high on those chances.
Twyman is curiously listed as a starter on ESPN’s Vikings depth chart, but per Seifert, that won’t last long as rookie Esezi Otomewo sneaks in through the backdoor to steal Twyman’s roster spot.
Harrison Phillips, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Armon Watts will also make the team in the defensive line’s interior if ESPN is correct.
Oli Udoh (OL)
Udoh played 94% of all Vikings snaps in 2021 but ranked second in the NFL for penalties. That’s unbecoming of a sequel, evidently.
Udoh seems on track to return to his organic tackle job this summer because the Vikings have guard options-galore, especially if Wyatt Davis is on the chopping block.
Fans won’t lament the release of Udoh, but he has quietly been with the team for three seasons.
Other roster cuts from Seifert included Kris Boyd (CB), Nate Hairston (CB), Blake Lynch (LB), James Lynch (DT), Andre Mitze (OLB), and Luiji Vilain (EDGE).
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).