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The Minnesota Vikings have just released their initial 53-man roster for the 2022-23 football season.
Minnesota Vikings Offense
Quarterbacks: Kirk Cousins, Nick Mullens
No surprises here. Cousins is the unquestioned number quarterback on this team. And Mullens was brought over from the Las Vegas Raiders to be his backup. Sean Mannion and Kellen Mond did not get the job done in the preseason.
Running Backs: Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison, Kene Nwangwu, Ty Chandler, C.J. Ham
The Vikings hope for a healthy Cook this year because he’s one of the best in the game when he is on the field. Mattison has always been a capable backup, but I still think there is a chance he could be traded to a running-back desperate team. Nwangwu and Chandler just may be the faces of the Viking’s running game after this season. Look for the Ham to play some H-back and tight end this year.
Justin Jefferson Is a Special Player
Wide Receivers: Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, K. J. Osborn, Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Jalen Nailor
The sky is the limit for the talented and mercurial Jefferson. Thielen hopes to rebound from a couple of injury-prone seasons. Osborn’s stock is rising, and he should see more opportunities this season. Smith-Marsette handles punt return duties and has shown flashes of brilliance. Nailor has a ways to go, but he has tremendous speed and can also return punts.
Tight Ends: Irv Smith, Johnny Mundt, Ben Ellefson
This is a position of concern for the Minnesota Vikings. There are doubts about Smith after missing all last season and the preseason with injuries. Mundt is a capable blocker, but the jury is out on his pass-catching ability. Ellefson is on the roster for his blocking ability.
Questions on the Offensive Line
Offensive Line: Christian Darrisaw, Ezra Cleveland, Garrett Bradbury, Ed Ingram. Brian O’Neil, Blake Brandel, Chris Reed, Adam Schlottmann, Oli Udoh, Vederian Lowe
The team has solid long-term bookend tackles with Darrisaw and O’Neil. Cleveland improves every year as he has learned the position on the fly. Ingram will make some rookie mistakes, but he can be a beast in the middle. Bradbury’s pass blocking remains a significant concern. There could be changes at this position if his play does not improve. Brandel and Udoh provide depth at the tackle position. Reed can play all of the interior positions. Schlottmann is there in case Bradbury falters. Lowe is a long-term asset that they wanted to protect.
Minnesota Vikings Defense
Defensive Line: Harrison Phillips, Dalvin Tomlinson, Ross Blacklock, James Lynch, Jonathan Bullard
Phillips and Tomlinson have looked like a formidable pair in the preseason. Armon Watts has struggled and was waived. Blacklock was just acquired from the Houston Texans to take his place. The Vikings like Otomewo’s motor. Lynch and Bullard provide depth. It’s a shame T.Y. McGill suffered a severe injury in the last preseason game against the Denver Broncos. He was the star of the preseason.
Edge Rushers: Danielle Hunter, Za’Darius Smith, Patrick Jones II, D.J. Wonnum, Luiji Vilain
Some fireworks will explode here if Hunter and Smith stay healthy. Robinson has had an excellent camp. Wonnum has not impressed so far but has shown flashes in the past. Zach McCloud is a candidate for the practice squad. Free-agent Vilain has shown exceptional tenacity and aggressiveness in camp. And Janarius Robinson never found his game.
Linebackers: Eric Kendricks, Jordan Hicks, Brian Asamoah, Troy Dye,
Kendricks and Hicks have bonded well, and they should be a force both defending the run and the pass. Asamoah has impressed everyone in his short NFL career. Dye did not have a great camp, but he has played well at times in the past.
Cornerbacks: Patrick Peterson, Cameron Dantzler, Chandon Sullivan, Andrew Booth Jr., Akayleb Evans, Kris Boyd
Peterson remains the wily old veteran back there. Dantzler is finally out of Mike Zimmer’s doghouse and playing well. Sullivan has the nickel job but needs to improve. Injuries have slowed booth, but the talent is there. Evans stepped up his play in the game against the Broncos. Boyd is a plus special teams performer.
Harrison Smith is a Future Hall of Famer
Safeties: Harrison Smith, Camryn Bynum, Lewis Cine, Josh Metellus
Smith remains one of the best safeties in the NFL. Bynum has made a smooth transition from playing cornerback in college. Cine will push Bynum and will also be involved in some three-safety sets. Metellus has shown steady improvement on the field.
Specialists: Kicker: Greg Joseph, Punter: Ryan Wright, Long-snapper: Andrew DePaola
I think Joseph is on the verge of having a great season. In the final preseason game, Wright beat veteran Jordan Berry and boomed the ball. DePaola has always been a steady, consistent snapper.
Check back with Belly Up Sports for additional Minnesota Vikings roster changes.