Projected Vikings defensive depth chart following initial 53-man roster

The Minnesota Vikings released their initial 53-man roster on Tuesday and it’s becoming more clear who the Vikings will be entering the season with against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Since cutdown day, the Vikings have added two players, but both of them are on offense in running back Myles Gaskin and offensive tackle. They have yet to address a defense that has some holes still remaining.

There is still plenty of time for the Vikings to officially set their depth chart going into week one. As the roster currently sits, here is what the depth chart is poised to look like on defense.

Offensive depth chart

Defensive end

AP Photo/Craig Lassig
AP Photo/Craig Lassig

Starters: Dean Lowry, Harrison Phillips

Backups (in order): Jonathan Bullard; Jaquelin Roy

This room isn’t as deep as it’s been in years past. There is talent at the top in Lowry and Phillips but the depth could be better. The Vikings could use another talented player to strengthen the room.

Nose tackle

Stacy Revere/Getty Images
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Starter: Khyiris Tonga

Backups (in order): Jaquelin Roy

Tonga is going to be the steady player at nose tackle and his pass rushing prowess will make a difference. Roy isn’t the size of a standard nose tackle, but he plays like one and will be a good pass rush 1T.

Outside linebacker/Edge rusher

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Starters: Danielle Hunter, Marcus Davenport

Backups (in order): D.J. Wonnum; Patrick Jones II; Andre Carter II

The edge room is going to see some rotations, including three players at a time. Hunter and Davenport are going to get the most playing time but don’t be surprised to see a lot of Jones, as he has steadily improved through the course of his career and in training camp.

Inside linebacker

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Starters: Brian Asamoah II, Jordan Hicks

Backups (in order): Ivan Pace Jr.; Troy Dye

Linebacker is relatively cut and dry. Hicks is going to start no matter what and Asamoah is going to be his running mate. The way Pace played and performed during training camp could push him to one of those spots with a great start to the season.

Outside cornerback

AP Photo/Craig Lassig
AP Photo/Craig Lassig

Starters: Byron Murphy Jr., Akayleb Evans

Backups (in order): Mekhi Blackmon; Andrew Booth Jr.; NaJee Thompson

Cornerback doesn’t have a lot of question marks in terms of how the team views them. Murphy is the alpha of the group with Evans being the clear number two. Booth is the wild card here. He could end up as the best player in the room or the worst. We just don’t know what he will be at this point.

Nickel cornerback

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Starter: Mekhi Blackmon

Backups (in order): Jay Ward

This was known from the first day that pads went on during training camp. Blackmon took the first team nickel reps and never looked back. Murphy is still expected to play in the slot, but Blackmon is the third cornerback.


Carlos Gonzalez/Star Tribune via AP
Carlos Gonzalez/Star Tribune via AP

Starters: Harrison Smith, Camryn Bynum

Backups (in order): Josh Metellus; Lewis Cine; Jay Ward; Theo Jackson

The safety room is both deep and solid in who is a starter or a backup. The real intrigue is how these players will get used and rotated throughout the course of the game. Smith is going to be expected to play heavy snaps, but the rest of the guys look to be rotating in some way, shape or form.

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Story originally appeared on Vikings Wire