Vikings 53-man Roster Finalized: Analysis

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Nov 13, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph (82) celebrates with Vikings guard Alex Boone (76) and Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford (8) after scoring a touchdown against the Washington Redskins in the second quarter at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 13, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph (82) celebrates with Vikings guard Alex Boone (76) and Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford (8) after scoring a touchdown against the Washington Redskins in the second quarter at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

There were a couple of surprises as the Vikings turned in their final roster heading into the regular season. Here is a look position by position what went down on cut day.

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Quarterback (2): Sam Bradford, Case Keenum

In reality, three quarterbacks are on the roster with Teddy Bridgewater on PUP. Though not a shocker, fans thought Taylor Heinicke had made enough a name for himself to make a roster spot. He was waived with an injury designation after suffering a concussion in the final preseason game. He and Mitch Leidner could be practice squad candidates down the road.

Running Back (3): Dalvin Cook, Latavius Murray, Jerick McKinnon

No surprises here. All three will play a significant role in the 2017 season.

Fullback (1): C.J. Ham

No surprise here either. The Vikings made it clear they would keep a fullback.

Wide Receiver (6): Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Laquon Treadwell, Stacy Coley, Rodney Adams, Jarius Wright

Add a seventh for Michael Floyd, who will sit out the first four games with a suspension. The biggest name left off is Cayleb Jones, who impressed at multiple points in the preseason. It is likely the special teams abilities of Coley and Adams and the experience of Wright as a slot gave them the edge.

Tight End (3): Kyle Rudolph, David Morgan, Bucky Hodges

Hodges got the nod over Kyle Carter, likely due to his frame and his pass catching ability. He did suffer a concussion in the final preseason game but it clearly is not serious enough to cost him his spot.

Offensive Line (9): Joe Berger, Nick Easton, Pat Elflein, Danny Isidora, Jeremiah Sirles, Aviante Collins, Rashod Hill, Riley Reiff, Mike Remmers

This is where the one big shocker took place. Veteran guard Alex Boone was cut just one year after Minnesota signed him to a four-year, $26.8 million contract. There are reports that the Vikings asked him to take a pay cut from his due $6.6 million this year and they released him when he declined.

This move means that the Vikings will go into the season with a completely overhauled line. The projected starters from left to right are Reiff, Easton, Elflein, Berger, Remmers. In a year where so much of the offensive production will depend on the running game, cutting Boone is somewhat baffling.

Defensive Line (9): Everson Griffen, Brian Robison, Linval Joseph, Tom Johnson, Danielle Hunter, Jaleel Johnson, Shamar Stephen, Stephen Weatherly, Tashawn Bower

The defensive front shook out as expected. The only real question is whether Jaleel Johnson’s rapid rise continues into a major role and how quickly that comes.

Sharrif Floyd and Datone Jones are listed on the team’s official roster for now, as well. Floyd is on the non-football injury list and his chances of playing this season are in doubt. Jones injured his shoulder and is on injured reserve. It is likely the Vikings will release him with an injury settlement, ending his brief and nondescript time in purple.

Linebackers (6): Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks, Ben Gedeon, Kentrell Brothers, Eric Wilson, Emmanuel Lamur

Lamur got the nod over Edmond Robinson likely due to his time with head coach Mike Zimmer in Cincinnati. Gedeon is the likely choice to slide into the starting weakside linebacker spot, alongside Barr and Kendricks.

Defensive Backs (11): Xavier Rhodes, Terence Newman, Harrison Smith, Andrew Sendejo, Tramaine Brock, Trae Waynes, Mackensie Alexander, Marcus Sherels, Anthony Harris, Antone Exum Jr., Jayron Kearse

An extra spot in the defensive backfield opened up due to the Vikings keeping only three quarterbacks, likely saving the spot for Kearse or Exum. New acquisition Tramaine Brock looks poised to grab the nickel spot, and perhaps even slip into Newman’s position; Newman turns 39 next week after all. The Vikes have high hopes for Alexander as a nickel but he has shown his rawness on multiple occasions. Waynes has shown the same inexperience despite playing nickel a bunch a year ago. Sherels handled some returning duties in preseason, expect him to share responsibilities with Jerick McKinnon.

Special Teams (3): Kicker Kai Forbath, Punter Ryan Quigley, Long Snapper Kevin McDermott

No real surprises here. Despite a moderate competition between Forbath and Marshal Koehn, the Vikings went with Forbath’s experience.