8 newcomers projected to be starters for the Vikings in 2021

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) Patrick Peterson
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) Patrick Peterson /

When the Minnesota Vikings take the field for the 2021 season, their starting lineup is expected to feature several new faces.

Harrison Smith has been with the Minnesota Vikings since the 2012 season. Smith has seen so many players come and go throughout his time with the Vikings that all of the change the franchise has experienced during the last two years is nothing new to the veteran safety.

The 2020 offseason saw Minnesota depart with several fan favorites like Linval Joseph, Everson Griffen, Xavier Rhodes, and Stefon Diggs. This year, even more notable names walked out the Vikings doors, including Kyle Rudolph, Riley Reiff, and Anthony Harris.

Unlike last offseason, however, the Vikings also went out during the last few months and added several experienced free agents to their roster. Minnesota is hoping this strategy proves to be a better one than what they did in 2020 when they relied too much on youth and inexperience.

Minnesota Vikings projected 2021 starters features eight new players

PFF’s Ben Linsey recently shared his predictions for every NFL team’s starting offense and defense for the upcoming 2021 season.

For the Vikings, Linsey included more than a handful of new additions in his projections. Rookie offensive linemen, Christian Darrisaw and Wyatt Davis, are both projected to be offensive starters this year while Patrick Peterson, Xaver Woods, Nick Vigil, Dalvin Tomlinson, Michael Pierce, and Mackensie Alexander are all expected to start for Minnesota on the defensive side of the ball.

None of these projections are really that surprising. Davis might not begin the season as the Vikings’ starting right guard, but it might only take a few games before the team gives him the job.

The most interesting projection from Linsey is probably him having Cameron Dantzler as the team’s other outside cornerback instead of Bashaud Breeland. Once again, this isn’t a gigantic shock, but many have assumed that Breeland will likely emerge with this role by the time Week 1 comes rolling around.

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Most Vikings fans would probably be satisfied with Linsey’s projections if they turned out to be correct. But there is still a lot of time between now and the beginning of the season, so expect these projected starting lineups to be shuffled up a bit before Minnesota’s first game of the year.