Minnesota Vikings 53-Man Roster Projection: The Defense and Special Teams

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Concluding the second preseason game for the Minnesota Vikings, final 53-man roster debates are heating up. Players are putting their best foot forward to earn a spot on the roster. With only half the preseason completed, things are almost assured to change, but for now, Here is how the Vikings 53-Man roster should look on the defensive side.

Minnesota Vikings 53-Man Roster Projection: The Defense/Special Teams

Defensive End (5)

Everson Griffen, Danielle Hunter, Brian Robison, Tashawn Bower, Stephen Weatherly

Undrafted from LSU, Bower has had an outstanding preseason. Weatherly has proven himself at defensive end along with special teams. The defensive ends are arguably the strongest position on this roster. Led by defensive line coach Andre Patterson, a big year is in store for this position group.

Defensive Tackle (4)

Linval Joseph, Jaleel Johnson, Datone Jones, Tom Johnson

Linval is the only lock at defensive tackle to make the team. Jaleel Johnson, a rookie from Iowa, has showed out in preseason and will likely make the team. Former Green Bay Packer, Jones, was given a partially guaranteed contract this off-season which will make it hard for the front office to release him. Tom Johnson has proven himself as a solid pass rusher from the defensive tackle position. Watch for Shamar Stephen to make a push for one of these spots too.  

Linebacker (6)

Eric Kendricks, Anthony Barr, Emmanuel Lamur, Ben Gedeon, Edmond Robinson, Eric Wilson

Gedeon, Robinson, and Lamur are competing for the Vikings weak side linebacker position this preseason. Wilson has been one of the strongest performers this preseason and is vying for a roster spot. Second year linebacker Kentrell Brothers gets left off the 53-man roster due to his injury problems throughout training camp and into preseason action. Rookie, Elijah Lee, will also end up left off the roster due to the lack of impact he has had for Zimmer’s defense in the preseason.

Cornerback (5)

Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes, Terence Newman, Mackensie Alexander, Marcus Sherels

All of these players are locked into a roster spot. Alexander has been thrown into the slot corner role with the departure of Captain Munnerlyn. Newman is 39 years old and looking to maintain his high level of play. Sherels has shown his worth in the return game and can step in if an injury occurs.

Safety (5)

Harrison Smith, Andrew Sendejo, Anthony Harris, Jayron Kearse, Antone Exum

Exum has also played cornerback early this season and can step into that role if needed. Kearse has proven himself as one of the team’s top special teams players and has had a very productive off-season away from the team. No one outside of this list is in serious contention to make the team. 

Specialists (3)

Kai Forbath, Taylor Symmank, Kevin McDermott

Forbath is a proven veteran at kicker while Symmank has a bigger leg at punter. Former Iowa kicker, Marshall Koehn, is a riskier option because he hasn’t kicked a field goal in the regular season before. Forbath went 16 for 16 on field goals last year and the Vikings trusts him to make kicks. McDermott is a lock to make the team as a long snapper.

Be sure to check out the Vikings 53-man roster projection for the offense.

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