The Deepest Positions on the Vikings Roster
With training camp well underway, there are a few positions that are easy to narrow down for the final 53-man roster. On the other end, there are some areas where the Vikings have incredible levels of depth, and if anyone gets cut, they likely will get picked up by another team before clearing waivers. Here are four of the deepest positions on the Vikings roster prior to their first preseason game on Sunday.
This one is probably the most obvious at this point, especially now with Myron Mitchell emerging as one of the main backups on the depth chart. Behind KJ Osborn and Ihmir Smith-Marsette, he and Bisi Johnson are listed as the backups in the tier directly below them.
We know what KJ Osborn can do on the field as a WR3, but there are paths for at least six receivers playing a big role on this Vikings team. It feels inevitable that Adam Thielen will miss some time at some point this season, and despite missing the entire 2021 season, Bisi Johnson has stepped up as a target whenever Kirk Cousins has needed him. Ihmir Smith-Marsette and Jalen Nailor are the only two players listed in the punt returner competition as well, and Vikings fans are all-too-familiar with how detrimental a poor return man can be.
Look no further than the fact that Albert Wilson is slated, for all intents and purposes, as the seventh wide receiver. When the Vikings signed him, it was thought that he could compete with KJ Osborn to be WR3. The team could be disappointed in the production that he has brought, but it is clear that Minnesota has a very deep wide receiver group in the NFL.
Imagine going back to March or April, when it was essentially only Cam Dantzler and Harrison Hand on the roster, that the cornerback room would be one of the deepest groups on the Vikings roster. You’d think I was crazy, but here we are. Patrick Peterson is back, Chandon Sullivan was added in free agency, and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah drafted Andrew Booth and Akayleb Evans.
Additionally, Dantzler has turned back into the rookie version of himself where he was one of the very best cornerbacks in the league down the stretch of the 2020 season. With the emergence of Booth as one of the top backups, this is another room on the Vikings roster that could very easily go five or six players deep if Kris Boyd keeps performing like he has over the past few days.
The Vikings EDGE position has to be on this list, especially considering that their sack leader from 2021 is the second backup on their depth chart. Minnesota has a couple studs starting at OLB in Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith, but their youth behind these guys is very promising.
Patrick Jones has emerged as the lead backup after a year of largely being a special teams player in 2021. Don’t be shocked if Janarius Robinson and Luiji Vilain get some run on the defense as well. Minnesota should have a very fearsome starting duo, but the depth behind them is a great mix of experienced players and young talent.
There’s something special brewing in the Vikings secondary. Cam Bynum has held his own thus far into training camp and is listed as the current starter on the Vikings roster alongside Harrison Smith. The obvious takeaway here is that Lewis Cine, the Vikings first round selection, is on the bench. It’s usually a bad sign to see a pick from the first round outside of the starting lineup, but in this case, I believe it has more to do with the other players than it does the rookie.
In the two games during which Bynum played 100% of the Vikings defensive snaps, he performed extremely well in a variety of areas. He put together 13 tackles, a sack, a TFL, two pass defenses, and an interception in those games. That sort of “do-it-all” player is very valuable along the last line of defense, and the Vikings have two of them in Bynum and Smith.
On top of that, the Vikings are anticipated to use some three-safety sets that will very likely include Cine. He may not be a starter right now, but that doesn’t mean Cine won’t be utilized. Additionally, there isn’t a rookie safety in a better learning position than Cine having Smith in his ear. The Vikings have a young secondary with oodles of potential for years to come. It’s going to be fun to see what they can do moving forward.