What will Vikings’ depth chart look like next season? Here’s a projection.

The competitive rebuild is finally starting to take shape for the Vikings.

Though the term itself has been weaponized against general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah at times since he uttered those words, it has actually provided a good depiction of how the Vikings have operated over the past couple of seasons. They have kept pieces in place to compete for the playoffs in the short term. They have also pushed things forward with an eye toward contending for a Super Bowl in the long term.

The inflection point came this offseason, as the Vikings moved on from veteran franchise quarterback Kirk Cousins, signed journeyman quarterback Sam Darnold in the offseason, then drafted rookie quarterback J.J. McCarthy. Meanwhile, the rest of the roster has a much different look than it did when Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell joined forces in the name of collaboration.

Here’s a projection of the Vikings’ depth chart with rookie minicamp coming up next week:

Quarterback (2)

Starter: Sam Darnold

Backup: J.J. McCarthy

Out: Nick Mullens, Jaren Hall

Analysis: Patience. That’s the word most fans have to come to grips with over the next couple of months. There’s absolutely no way the Vikings are going to rush McCarthy’s development. He’s too important to their future. That’s why they went out and spent money on Darnold on the open market. Now, if McCarthy vastly outperforms Darnold in training camp, that could change the plan of attack. The thought of cutting Mullens and Hall comes down to there simply not being enough roster spots to go around.

Running Back (3)

Starter: Aaron Jones

Backups: Ty Chandler, Kene Nwangwu

Out: Myles Gaskin, DeWayne McBride

Analysis: The ground attack should be much improved with Jones as the main ball carrier. He’s a veteran presence who has averaged 5.0 yards per carry in his career. This should give Chandler more time to develop rather than having to shoulder too much of the load so early in his career. As for Nwangwu, he likely will make the team thanks to NFL rule changes, which makes having a kickoff returner a valuable asset.

Fullback (1)

Starter: C.J. Ham

Backup: N/A

Out: N/A

Analysis: There’s no competition for Ham. Not only has he consistently proved his worth throughout his NFL career, he has developed into a revered leader in the locker room along the way. He’s not going anywhere.

Receiver (5)

Starters: Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison

Backups: Brandon Powell, Trent Sherfield, Jalen Nailor

Out: Trishton Jackson, N’Keal Harry, Lucky Jackson, Daylen Baldwin, Malik Knowles, Thayer Thomas, Devron Harper, Ty James, Jeshaun Jones

Analysis: It’s only a matter of time before Jefferson signs his contract extension. He is the best player in the league at his position, and the Vikings aren’t letting him get away. The emergence of Addison as a rookie last year provides a perfect complement to Jefferson. The rest of the contributors at the position comes in the form of Powell, who the coaching staff adores for his work ethic; Sherfield, who signed in free agency; and Nailor, who has shown flashes behind closed doors. Look for the Vikings to add another body before training camp for some added competition.

Tight End (4)

Starter: T.J. Hockenson

Backups: Josh Oliver, Johnny Mundt, Nick Muse

Out: Trey Knox

Analysis: The caveat with Hockenson is that he might not be ready for Week 1. He’s still recovering from surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament. If Hockenson isn’t available, the trio of Oliver, Mundt and Muse will combine to fill the void until he’s ready to return.

Offensive Line (9)

Starters: Christian Darrisaw (left tackle), Blake Brandel (left guard), Garrett Bradbury (center), Ed Ingram (right guard), Brian O’Neill (right tackle)

Backups: David Quessenberry, Walter Rouse, Dan Feeney, Michael Jurgens

Out: Henry Byrd, Tyrese Robinson, Matthew Cindric, Jeremy Flax, Doug Nester, Spencer Rolland

Analysis: The starting offensive line seems to be set in stone until further notice. The bookends are elite with Darrisaw and O’Neill in place at the two tackle spots. The man in the middle is also in good shape with Bradbury coming into his own. The slots occupied by Brandel and Ingram leave something to be desired on the surface. Still, a reunion with veteran Dalton Risner doesn’t seem to be in the cards, unless he lowers his asking price.

Defensive Line (6)

Starters: Harrison Phillips (nose tackle), Jonathan Bullard (defensive end), Jerry Tillery (defensive end)

Backups: Jonah Williams, Jaquelin Roy, Levi Drake Rodriguez

Out: Tyler Manoa, Taki Taimani

Analysis: After watching Phillips play the most snaps of his career, the Vikings made it a priority this offseason to add more impact players up front. That explains why they retained Bullard, signed Tillery and Williams in free agency, and targeted Rodriguez in the draft as a dart throw with some upside.

Edge Rusher (6)

Starters: Jonathan Greenard, Andrew Van Ginkel

Backups: Dallas Turner, Pat Jones II, Jihad Ward, Gabriel Murphy

Out: Andre Carter, Owen Porter, Bo Richter

Analysis: The blow of losing star edge rusher Danielle Hunter was lessened by adding Greenard and Van Ginkel. Add in the surprise addition of Turner in the draft and the Vikings have done a good job adding talent at the position. Though no single player will be able to produce at the same level as Hunter, the group as a whole should still be able to put pressure on the passer. The general consensus is that Murphy was a steal as an undrafted free agent. He’s worth keeping an eye on over the next couple of months.

Linebacker (3)

Starters: Blake Cashman, Ivan Pace Jr.

Backups: Kamu Grugier-Hill

Out: Brian Asamoah II, Abraham Beauplan, K.J. Cloyd, Dallas Gant, Donovan Manuel

Analysis: The combination of Cashman and Pace gives the Vikings a lot of speed at the position. That should give defensive coordinator Brian Flores some options as he schemes up ways to make life miserable on opposing teams. The signing of Grugier-Hill makes it tough to see a path forward for Asamoah.

Cornerback (7)

Starters: Byron Murphy Jr., Shaq Griffin, Akayleb Evans

Backups: Mekhi Blackmon, Andrew Booth Jr., Khyree Jackson, NaJee Thompson

Out: Joejuan Williams, A.J. Green III, Jaylin Williams, Dwight McGlothern

Analysis: As much as this still probably won’t be a Vikings position of strength, they did a lot to to address some glaring needs. The experience that Griffin provides can’t be overstated. He’s started a lot of games in the league and plays with an aggressive style. That should fit well with Murphy, Evans, Blackmon and Booth. There is also something intriguing about Jackson when looking at his 6-foot-4, 195-pound frame and envisioning it on the outside.

Safety (4)

Starters: Harrison Smith, Camryn Bynum, Josh Metellus

Backups: Jay Ward

Out: Lewis Cine, Theo Jackson

Analysis: This will be the straw that stirs the drink for the defense. The way Flores has been able to deploy Smith, Bynum and Metellus makes the Vikings very difficult to scout on a weekly basis. You never know exactly where they’re going to line up on any given play. The surprise here would be Cine not making the team. He will get a chance to prove his worth in training camp.

Kicker (1)

Starter: Will Reichard

Backup: N/A

Out: John Parker Romo

Analysis: If the Vikings didn’t think Reichard could beat out Romo, they wouldn’t have drafted him in the first place. This likely won’t be much of a competition.

Punter (1)

Starter: Ryan Wright

Backup: N/A

Out: Seth Vernon

Analysis: It’s hard to imagine the Vikings moving on from Wright. He’s a known commodity, and that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Long Snapper (1)

Starter: Andrew DePaola

Backup: N/A

Out: N/A

Analysis: Not much to say here other than the fact that DePaola will be the long snapper next season.

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