A look at Vikings' post-draft depth chart
May, 14, 2014
By Ben Goessling | ESPN.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings' roster is all but complete after the conclusion of the 2014 NFL draft. Let's take a brief look at where things stand at this point, and where they could change between now and training camp. Rookies are in all caps:
- Projected starter: Matt Cassel
- Backups: TEDDY BRIDGEWATER, Christian Ponder
- Comment: Cassel begins the year as the starter; we'll see how soon Bridgewater can push for the job.
- Projected starter: Adrian Peterson
- Backups: Matt Asiata, JERICK McKINNON
- Comment: Peterson is the undisputed starter here, but look for the Vikings to get him a little help and use McKinnon as a change of pace.
- Projected starter: Jerome Felton
- Backups: Zach Line
- Comment: Felton restructured his deal during the offseason, and Line -- who might factor into the passing game more prominently -- could push him.
- Projected starters: Greg Jennings and Cordarrelle Patterson
- Backups: Jerome Simpson, Jarius Wright, Adam Thielen, Rodney Smith
- Comment: If Simpson faces NFL discipline after an arrest on drunken-driving charges last November, the Vikings could turn to Thielen for a larger role -- or look for more help at the position.
- Projected starter: Kyle Rudolph
- Backups: Chase Ford, Rhett Ellison
- Comment: Rudolph could be in line for a big year in Norv Turner's offense. Don't discount Ford as a pass-catching option.
- Projected starter: John Sullivan
- Backups: Joe Berger, Jeff Baca
- Comment: Sullivan has this position solidified. Berger is in place as a capable backup.
- Projected starter: Matt Kalil
- Backups: Mike Remmers
- Comment: Kalil didn't progress as much as the Vikings would have liked in Year 2, but he's still in line to be the left tackle for the next decade. The Vikings have other players who could swing out to tackle if needed, such as rookie David Yankey or even Charlie Johnson.
- Projected starter: Charlie Johnson
- Backups: Berger, DAVID YANKEY, Vlad Ducasse, Jeff Baca
- Comment: Don't discount the idea of Yankey pushing Johnson for the starting spot; he could turn out to be a steal for the Vikings in the fifth round, and an effective road grader at guard.
- Projected starter: Brandon Fusco
- Backups: Berger, YANKEY, Ducasse, Baca
- Comment: Fusco made major strides forward last season and could be in line for a new contract with a solid year in 2014.
- Projected starter: Phil Loadholt
- Backups: Kevin Murphy, YANKEY
- Comment: Loadholt, like the rest of this line, has been durable. He missed one game because of a concussion last year but has played every other one since 2010.
- Projected starter: Brian Robison
- Backups: Corey Wootton, SCOTT CRICHTON, Justin Trattou, Spencer Nealy
- Comment: Robison could shift to Jared Allen's old spot at right end, but he thinks Everson Griffen will start there. "They gave him a lot of money," Robison said last month. "I don't think it was to be a left end."
- Projected starter: Everson Griffen
- Backups: Wootton, CRICHTON, Trattou, Spencer Nealy
- Comment: The Vikings are counting on a big step forward from Griffen, who got $20 million in guaranteed money this offseason.
- Projected starter: Sharrif Floyd
- Backups: Tom Johnson, Chase Baker, SHAMAR STEPHEN
- Comment: Floyd showed signs of growth at the end of his rookie season, but there will be plenty expected of him in Year 2 as the three-technique tackle in Mike Zimmer's defense. He needs to show he can be Zimmer's version of Geno Atkins in Minnesota.
- Projected starter: Linval Joseph
- Backups: Fred Evans, Kheeston Randall, Baker
- Comment: The Vikings gave Joseph a five-year deal to be their new version of Pat Williams; a run-stuffing nose tackle who can fortify the middle of the Vikings' line.
- Projected starter: Jasper Brinkley
- Backups: Audie Cole, Michael Mauti
- Comments: This position could be up for grabs; Brinkley fits better as a downhill linebacker in Zimmer's scheme than he did when he was asked to drop into coverage in Leslie Frazier's Cover-2 defense, so he gets the early nod here, but Cole played well enough at the end of last season to fight for the spot, particularly if Anthony Barr is ready to start outside early.
- Projected starter: Audie Cole
- Backups: ANTHONY BARR, Gerald Hodges
- Comments: Cole gets the early nod here, but the Vikings won't hold Barr back if he proves he can take the job to start the year.
- Projected starter: Chad Greenway
- Backup: Mauti, BRANDON WATTS
- Comment: As Zimmer said last week, Greenway's position isn't changing; he's playing the same spot he was in a Cover-2 defense, but the strong and weak-side linebacker spots in a Cover-2 are flipped from what they would normally be. Mauti has played some outside linebacker in the past, and could also get a look as a backup here.
- Projected starter: Xavier Rhodes
- Backups: Josh Robinson, Derek Cox, Marcus Sherels, KENDALL JAMES, JABARI PRICE
- Comment: Rhodes looked ready to take off at the end of last season, and the Vikings will expect big things out of him in Year 2. Robinson should be more comfortable on the outside than he was playing in the slot last season.
- Projected starter: Captain Munnerlyn
- Backups: Robinson, Cox, Sherels, JAMES, PRICE
- Comment: Munnerlyn will likely slide inside in the Vikings' nickel package, which could leave plenty of snaps open here for Robinson or Cox on passing downs.
- Projected starter: Jamarca Sanford
- Backups: Andrew Sendejo, Kurt Coleman, ANTONE EXUM, Robert Blanton, Mistral Raymond
- Comment: There will be plenty of competition at this spot; Sanford was working with the first team in the Vikings' voluntary minicamp last month, but Sendejo and Coleman, in particular, could push him.
- Projected starter: Harrison Smith
- Backups: Sendejo, Coleman, EXUM, Blanton, Raymond
- Comment: Smith is recovered from the turf toe injury that kept him out for half of last season. He looks like a star in the making, and the Vikings have big plans for him in Year 3.