Today, August 29, was roster cutdown day for every NFL team, and I want to go over the initial 53-man roster for the Minnesota Vikings. Changes can still be made in the coming days, so nothing is final prior to the team’s Week 1 contest against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Quarterbacks (3)- Kirk Cousins, Nick Mullens, Jaren Hall
No surprises here. Cousins is obviously entrenched as the starter for what could be his final year as a Viking, and Mullens was the obvious choice at backup. I hear the coaching staff really likes Hall despite his advanced age (he’s a 25 y/o rookie), so maybe he could be the future franchise QB post-Cousins.
Running Backs/Fullbacks (4)- Alexander Mattison, Ty Chandler, Kene Nwangnu, C.J. Ham
Mattison, Chandler, and Ham are no surprises, but Nwangwu is, given that he is primarily known as a return man and will be affected by the league’s new kickoff rule. Then again, maybe Kevin O’Connell and Co. plan to use him as a gadget player. Seventh-round pick DeWayne McBride was the odd man out here, and was the only 2023 draft pick not to make the roster.
Wide Receivers (6)- Justin Jefferson, KJ Osborn, Jordan Addison, Jalen Nailor, Brandon Powell, Jalen Reagor
Obviously, the top four receivers were going to be JJ, KJ, Addison, and Nailor, but the decision to retain both Powell and Reagor is an interesting one given that both are, similar Nwangwu, primarily known as return guys and gadget players. I did hear that the team is fielding trade offers for Reagor, so don’t be surprised if he is moved soon.
Tight Ends (4)- T.J. Hockenson, Josh Oliver, Johnny Mundt, Nick Muse
I thought that Muse would have been a goner after the team signed Oliver back in March, but keeping four tight ends on the roster tells me that the Vikings plan to use more 12 personnel formations on offense, which requires two tight ends.
Offensive Linemen (8)- Christian Darrisaw, Ezra Cleveland, Garrett Bradbury, Ed Ingram, Brian O’Neill, Austin Schlottmann, Blake Brandel, Oli Udoh
I would’ve liked to see someone other than Udoh for the eighth OL, but the rest isn’t surprising. Chris Reed did make the team, but is currently on the NFI list.
Defensive Linemen (5)- Harrison Phillips, Dean Lowry, Jonathan Bullard, Khyiris Tonga, Jaquelin Roy
The defensive line is probably, along with cornerback, the weakest part of the team. The starters are okay, but there isn’t a lot of quality depth.
Outside Linebackers/EDGE (5)- Danielle Hunter, Marcus Davenport, Patrick Jones II, Andre Carter II, D.J. Wonnum
Hunter and Davenport will be the starting pass rushers, and there is good depth behind them. The Vikings obviously saw something special in Carter, who they signed as an undrafted free agent, when they gave him the largest guaranteed contract for a UDFA back in April.
Inside Linebackers (4)- Jordan Hicks, Brian Asamoah, Ivan Pace Jr., Troy Dye
There is no set starting ILB opposite Hicks, but it’s possible that UDFA signee Pace may have worked his way to that spot after his strong camp and preseason. If Pace isn’t the starter, expect Asamoah to fill that role.
Cornerbacks (5)- Byron Murphy, Akayleb Evans, Mekhi Blackmon, Andrew Booth Jr., Najee Thompson
The first four players make up the primary cornerback rotation, while Thompson will be the team’s primary special teamer. The battle for the starting slot corner between Blackmon and Booth should be interesting.
Safeties (6)- Harrison Smith, Lewis Cine, Camryn Bynum, Josh Metellus, Theo Jackson, Jay Ward
The importance of the safety position has dwindled in recent years, so it may seem as a surprise that the Vikings kept six of them on the roster. Then again, new defensive coordinator Brian Flores loves his DBs.
Special Teams (3)- K Greg Joseph, P Ryan Wright, LS Andrew DePaola
The Vikings will have continuity on special teams from 2022, which is never a bad thing.
What are your thoughts on the team’s initial 53-man roster? Comment your thoughts down below and be sure to keep it real here at NFCNorthReport.