The draft was three days of pure craziness. Actually for the Vikings it was two days of craziness with a day of peace sandwiched in between. Now that the dust has settled we can run down how the depth chart looks with the newly added players. Obviously the draft picks have not been signed yet but we’re assuming they all will get signed within the usual time frame. UDFAs not factored in because it would just unnecessarily muddle things.
QB – Christian Ponder, Matt Cassell, Joe Webb, McLeod Bethel-Thompson
RB – Adrian Peterson, Toby Gerhart, Matt Asiata
FB – Jerome Felton
TE – Kyle Rudolph, John Carlson, Rhett Ellison
WR – Greg Jennings, Jarius Wright, Stephen Burton
WR – Jerome Simpson, Cordarrelle Patterson, Greg Childs
LT – Matt Kalil, DeMarcus Love
LG – Charlie Johnson, Seth Olsen
C – John Sullivan, Joe Berger
RG – Brandon Fusco, Jeff Baca, Travis Bond
RT – Phil Loadholt, Troy Kropog (RFA will be signed)
DE – Brian Robison, Lawrence Jackson, D’Aundre Reed
DT – Letroy Guion, Fred Evans
DT – Kevin Williams, Sharrif Floyd, Christian Ballard, Chase Baker, Everett Dawkins
DE – Jared Allen, Everson Griffen
OLB – Chad Greenway, Larry Dean
MLB – Erin Henderson, Marvin Mitchell, Michael Mauti
OLB – Gerald Hodges, Audie Cole
CB – Chris Cook, A.J. Jefferson, Brandon Burton
CB – Xavier Rhodes, Josh Robinson, Marcus Sherels
S – Harrison Smith, Andrew Sendejo
S – Jamarca Sanford, Mistral Raymond, Robert Blanton
K – Blair Walsh
P – Jeff Locke, T.J. Conley, Chris Kluwe
LS – Cullen Loeffler
Don’t bother asking me where guys like Bobby Felder are on this list. I’m sticking with guys who will be a factor once camp rolls around. And yes it’s not a typo, Kluwe is listed third on the punter “depth chart.” Realistically there should only be one name on that list. There is no competition for punter. Jeff Locke is the punter.
I am slotting in Xavier Rhodes as a day 1 starter even though we know Leslie Frazier has an aversion to starting rookies. I suppose there’s still a chance A.J. Jefferson could end up starting opposite Chris Cook at first. But I feel like, once things shake out, we’ll see a lot of Cook and Rhodes outside and Jefferson splitting time at slot corner with Josh Robinson depending on match-ups.
I don’t think Cordarrelle Patterson is a true split end at this point in his development but I’m lining him up there second to Jerome Simpson just for the sake of convenience. Obviously Greg Jennings is the #1 receiver even though he is not a true deep man. They still don’t really have a true deep man.
Who knows what will finally happen at linebacker. I’m taking Rick Spielman’s word for it that Erin Henderson is the MLB as of now. But I don’t think the plan is for Henderson to play in nickel. I have to believe Gerald Hodges was drafted specifically to be a nickel backer and ideally I bet the Vikes would like him to rise up and take over the full-time MLB job. Whether he will be good enough against the run to lock down that role is anyone’s guess. I realize people have a lot of feeling for Michael Mauti because of his backstory but he is a long-shot to even make this team. That’s just a fact. If he ever contributes in a meaningful way I will be very surprised.
Defensive line depth chart is obviously a fluid thing. There are 8 guys in there who figure to get plenty of snaps. Christian Ballard looks like odd-man-out at this point unless he can find a way to steal some snaps at nose tackle. He’s not going to get much look at 3-tech with Kevin Williams and Sharrif Floyd there.
I can only speculate that Jeff Baca and Travis Bond were drafted to push Brandon Fusco, though when you consider Frazier’s reluctance to promote rookies over more veteran guys, how much chance do they really have to supplant Fusco? Baca or Bond may push Fusco in camp but I would bet money Fusco ends up starting the season at right guard. Frazier makes rookies prove it. That can look like stubbornness. Or loyalty depending on how you want to take it.