COMMENTARY | The Minnesota Vikings have completed their first three preseason games and have now cut 13 players. The fourth and final preseason game against the Tennessee Titans will help determine final roster spots and the practice squad.
Here is a prediction of the Vikings' 53-man roster for the 2013 season:
QB-(3) Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel, McLeod Bethel-Thompson
Notes: The only quarterback left fighting for a roster spot is McLeod Bethel-Thompson. McLeod will get plenty of action in the Vikings' fourth and final preseason game this coming Thursday. With James Vandenberg cut, McLeod is just about locked to make the team, unless he manages to throw away his roster spot.
Notes: It won't be shocking to see Toby Gerhart get cut (or traded) from the Vikings' roster given his last two performances against the Bills and Titans. But, in all honesty, Gerhart, entering the final year of his contract, will be on the Vikings' roster. The third-string running back is currently being battled between Matt Asiata and Joe Banyard.
Notes: With reports that Jerome Felton will be suspended the first three games of the season, Zach Line has a chance to replace the Pro-Bowl fullback while Felton serves his suspension.
Notes: The Vikings have had plenty of injury history at the receiver position in recent years. Last year, the Vikings dealt with injuries to Percy Harvin and Jerome Simpson. Given the fact Jarius Wright (concussion) already has an injury and Greg Jennings missed time last season, the Vikings might justify keeping six receivers. Joe Webb continues to progress as a receiver, pulling down a red-zone touchdown against the 49ers. Greg Childs, currently on the PUP, has yet to play in the preseason and will more than likely land him on the PUP or IR. A smart move for both the Vikings and Childs would be sticking the wide receiver on the IR, giving him time to continue his recovery.
TE-(3) Kyle Rudolph, John Carlson, Rhett Ellison
Notes: The tight ends have gotten off to a slow start this preseason. Kyle Rudolph had one reception for five yards as the 49ers dismantled the Vikings. All three tight ends are locks to make the roster in the 2013 season. Chase Ford and Colin Anderson are on the outside looking in.
Notes: Matt Kalil struggled mightily with boneheaded penalties against the 49ers, but he will be the Vikings' Week 1 starter -- no questions. Last season, the Vikings kept eight offensive linemen on the roster, so no reason to expect them to carry any more this season.
DL-(8) Jared Allen, Letroy Guion, Kevin Williams, Brian Robison, Fred Evans, D'Aundre Reed, Everson Griffen, Sharrif Floyd
Notes: Nobody really knows what is going on with defensive tackle Christian Ballard, but it's safe to assume he won't be returning to the Vikings anytime soon. The Vikings will carry at least eight defensive linemen, which leads to the question: Will one of the defensive linemen on the bubble make the team?
LB-(7) Erin Henderson, Desmond Bishop, Chad Greenway, Marvin Mitchell, Gerald Hodges, Michael Mauti, Audie Cole
Notes: Desmond Bishop had a strong showing against the 49ers, playing a majority of the game with the first-team defense. Audie Cole has done enough to warrant a roster spot for the second straight year, but Larry Dean could easily make the team due to his special teams abilities. The Vikings tend to keep seven linebackers, and there is no reason to believe they carry anymore this season.
DB-(11) Xavier Rhodes, Harrison Smith, Josh Robinson, Chris Cook, Brandon Burton, Bobby Felder, Jamarca Sanford, Andrew Sendejo, Mistral Raymond, Robert Blanton, A.J. Jefferson
Notes: Last season, the Vikings elected to carry 10 defensive backs, but given the inconsistency of Josh Robinson as the nickle corner, the Vikings could easily use an extra roster spot on another defensive back. Let's not forget Chris Cook has had his fair share of injuries in his career, including suffering a groin injury against the 49ers.
Special Teams-(3) Jeff Locke, Cullen Loeffler, Blair Walsh
Notes: The Vikings' special teams unit are all locks to make the roster barring injury. Jeff Locke, the Vikings' fifth-round selection from UCLA, is the highest drafted punter in team history.
Practice Squad-(8) Travis Bond, Zach Line, Rodney Smith, Everett Dawkins, Joe Banyard, Adam Thielen, Chase Baker, Bradley Randle
Notes: The practice squad will be filled with a mix of Vikings players as well as talent from around the NFL. If the five players listed above don't make the 53-man roster, the Vikings should try to get them on the practice squad. Practice squad is assuming the player clears waivers.
*Does not count against 53-man roster
Dennis Parsons is a Minnesota-area sportswriter covering the Minnesota Vikings for Vikings Central. He previously covered all Minnesota professional sports teams for Minnesota Sports News Nightly. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on twitter @Parsons_VC.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Minnesota Vikings
- Matt Cassel
- Toby Gerhart
- Jerome Felton
- Matt Kalil
- Matt Asiata