The Minnesota Vikings are getting close to that sad point in the year where they have to say goodbye to many of the guys in training camp to make up their main roster. With so many young, talented players on this roster, it will be a very tough competition to get one of those valuable roster spots. Since there are so many players on the fringe this year, here are five players who need a to play a solid game to help their chances of making the final roster.
- Antone Exum (safety): With word getting around about how Exum has struggled with the transition from cornerback to safety and the addition of veteran Chris Crocker, Exum could find himself on the outside of the 53-man roster. He was one of my favorite picks of the draft, but has yet to showcase the instincts and athletic ability that made him stand out on tape prior to the draft. He’ll get that opportunity tonight against the Cardinals.
Michael Mauti (linebacker): Mauti seems to finally be healthy, but has yet to really make a splash in training camp or preseason. He is part of a muddled linebacker group that could really see anyone step up and grab a spot. In my opinion, his major competition for a roster spot is veteran special teamer Larry Dean. It could all come down to which player is a bigger help on special teams and can remain healthy.
- Andrew Sendejo (safety): After dealing with injuries at the start of camp, Sendejo will have to prove himself able and ready to play at a high level tonight in order to convince the coaching staff that he could be a valuable asset to the team. Head coach Mike Zimmer has gone on record as saying “You can’t make the club in the tub”, and Sendejo is a good example of a player who could find himself out for that reason alone. Personally, I think Sendejo is worth a roster spot as a solid backup and special teamer, but I’m not in the front office (thank goodness).
- Jeff Baca (guard): This one hurts me a bit. I’m a big fan of Baca and would hate to see him not make the final 53. However, with Berger and Yankey already nearly locks to make the roster, room for a guy that plays only guard and center could be hard to come across on this roster. The former 6th round draft pick in 2013 will have to play at a high level in order to convince the team of his value or else he could find himself not making the cut.
- Rodney Smith (wide receiver): Personally, I’m a big fan of Rodney Smith. He’s got good height, solid hands, and is a capable route runner. The competition at wide receiver is fierce though. Underdog Adam Thielen has been the star of training camp and other youngsters like Erik Lora and Kain Colter have been good in camp as well.
That’s my list of 5 fringe players who could really use a good outing to improve their chances of making the final 53 man roster. Who do you think should be added to this list? Do you disagree with any of my choices? Let me know in the comments!