The Minnesota Vikings updated their depth chart before the season opener on Sunday. Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers will come to town for the first divisional showdown of the 2022 season.
- Kirk Cousins; Nick Mullens
Of course, Kirk Cousins will open the season as starting QB. The team traded for Mullens to be his primary backup and released Sean Mannion and Kellen Mond after they were unable to clinch the backup job.
- Dalvin Cook
- Alexander Mattison
- Kene Nwangwu
- Ty Chandler
Cook will enter the season as the top running back. The position is one of the best from a depth standpoint, as Mattison drew some interest around the league while Nwangwu and Chandler showcased their skills in the preseason.
The Vikings are a rare team with a fullback in 2022, and he’s good enough that the team names him a starter. He’ll play more snaps on offense than people think.
- Justin Jefferson – Adam Thielen
- K.J. Osborn – Jalen Reagor
- Jalen Nailor
The depth chart is listed in 21-personnel. That means the team has two starting backs, one tight end, and two wideouts. Therefore, Osborn is listed as the backup. However, he’ll play a lot of snaps in the upcoming season.
Interestingly, Reagor immediately jumped Nailor after his trade and could get some run on offense.
- Irv Smith Jr.
- Johnny Mundt
- Ben Ellefson
No surprises here. Smith is ready to go in the season opener after missing time in camp with thumb surgery. Mundt and Ellefson are backups and will fill in on sets with two or more tight ends on the field.
- Christian Darrisaw – Ezra Cleveland, Garrett Bradbury – Ed Ingram – Brian O’Neill
- Blake Brandel – Austin Schlottmann – Chris Reed – Oli Udoh
- Vederian Lowe
Ed Ingram has officially clinched the starting spot. Also interesting is that Schlottmann is listed as a center. Reed is a guard. The Vikings tested Reed at center in the preseason and during training camp.
- Jonathan Bullard – Harrison Phillips – Dalvin Tomlinson
- Ross Blacklock – James Lynch
- Esezi Otomewo
Phillips is the only nose tackle. The other five are all listed as defensive ends. Tomlinson is likely the backup nose tackle. Not many people imagined Jonathan Bullard getting the start even a few days ago.
- Danielle Hunter – Za’Darius Smith
- Patrick Jones – D.J. Wonnum
- Luiji Vilain
No surprises here. The two star rusher start, while Jones and Wonnum are rotational players. Vilain has time to develop.
- Eric Kendricks – Jordan Hicks
- Troy Dye – Brian Asamoah
The two starters are obvious. Dye is listed as the backup of Kendricks and Asamoah as the backup of Hicks. It’s unclear if that has any meaning.
- Cameron Dantzler – Patrick Peterson
- Akayleb Evans – Chandon Sullivan
- Kris Boyd – Andrew Booth
Dantzler officially clinched a starting spot. Sullivan will play as the nickel cornerback. Surprisingly, fourth-rounder Evans is above second-rounder Booth.
- Harrison Smith – Camryn Bynum
- Josh Metellus – Lewis Cine
Cine couldn’t usurp Bynum in the preseason. Bynum will open the season as a starter. It’s fair to wonder how far Cine is behind him. A possibility to get Cine on the field is by playing with three safeties and replacing either a nickel cornerback or a linebacker.
- Kicker: Greg Joseph
- Punter: Ryan Wright
- Holder: Ryan Wright
- Long snapper: Andrew DePaola
- Kick returner: Kene Nwangwu; Ty Chandler; K.J. Osborn
- Punt returner: Jalen Reagor; K.J. Osborn; Jalen Nailor
Unlike in the preseason, Kene Nwangwu will return kicks. He’s one of the best in the league, and the Vikings probably just wanted to test his backups. Reagor immediately won the punt returner job.
Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt