2014 Depth Chart: Minnesota Vikings
[Chart last updated 7/3/14]
• For a team that struggled so much last year, the Vikings have an awful lot of player who are at least good starters, especially on offense. It’s highlighted by Adrian Peterson, but Vikings fans can also feel excited about the big-play ability of Cordarrelle Patterson and the emergence of Matt Kalil at left tackle.
• The offensive line is an area of particular strength, especially on the right side where Brandon Fusco and Phil Loadholt have formed one of the best right sides in the league. Adding to that is that strength of John Sullivan in the middle, with left guard Charlie Johnson the only weak link.
• The biggest changes on the Vikings’ defense heading into 2014 are on the defensive line. Kevin Williams and Jared Allen are gone, with Linval Joseph coming in. Joseph is a solid player to have in the middle of the line and, while he was a big player for the Vikings over the years, both Brian Robison and Everson Griffen played better than Allen a year ago.
• Some might think our rating of Chad Greenway is harsh, but the drop-off in his play from 2012 to 2013 was sharp. They reportedly plan on moving him to weak side linebacker this year, with rookie Anthony Barr taking over on the strong side, but his play needs to improve dramatically in 2014.
Heading into May’s NFL Draft the quarterback position was one that Vikings fans looked to with peril. Neither Matt Cassel and Christian Ponder would fill you with much hope at quarterback heading into the season so the addition of rookie Teddy Bridgewater at the end of the first round has given fans a silver lining to look forward to. The question now is just how quickly he can ascend the depth chart but, with the two players in front of him struggling more often than not, you wouldn’t be surprised to see him open the season under center.
2. Middle Linebacker
Erin Henderson is gone at middle linebacker in Minnesota, but who will replace him is very much up in the air. Audie Cole reportedly took the snaps with the base unit during the most recent OTAs, but he’ll be competing with the returning Jasper Brinkley throughout the offseason. Based on last season neither are likely to make a big impact in the middle, but Cole did at least flash some skills in coverage when he got on the field last year.
3. Backup Running Back
While Peterson’s talents aren’t up for debate, there are plenty of question marks behind him on the roster. Top backup Toby Gerhart left for Jacksonville in free agency, and Matt Asiata saw 44 carries late in the year with injuries at the position. It’s tough to see Asiata as a viable backup at this stage, though, and rookie Jerick McKinnon might be the one who winds up as Peterson’s top backup in 2014.
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