The Vikings Release Their First Unofficial Depth Chart of the 2023 Season

NFL: Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings begin their preseason on Thursday evening when they travel to Seattle to take on the Seahawks.

Prior to the game, though, the Vikings released their first unofficial depth chart of the 2023 season. Here is a look at that depth chart along with a few things to note moving forward.

Offense

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Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) passes the ball against the New York Giants during the first quarter of a wild card game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterbacks

  • Starter: Kirk Cousins
  • Backups: Nick Mullens; Jaren Hall

Running Backs

  • Starter: Alexander Mattison
  • Backups: Kene Nwangwu; Ty Chandler; DeWayne McBride; Abram Smith

Wide Receivers

  • Starters: Justin Jefferson and K.J. Osborn
  • Backups: Jalen Nailor and Jordan Addison; Jalen Reagor and Brandon Powell; Blake Proehl and Trishton Jackson; Lucky Jackson and Thayer Thomas; N’Keal Harry, Garret Maag, and Jacob Copeland

Tight Ends

  • Starter: T.J. Hockenson
  • Backups: Josh Oliver; Johnny Mundt; Nick Muse; Ben Sims; Colin Thompson

Offensive Tackles

  • Starters: Christian Darrisaw (LT) and Brian O’Neill (RT)
  • Backups: Vederian Lowe (LT) and Olisaemeka Udoh (RT); Jarrid Williams (LT) and Christian DiLauro (RT); Jacky Chen (LT)

Interior Offensive Linemen

  • Starters: Ezra Cleveland (LG), Garrett Bradbury (C) and Ed Ingram (RG)
  • Backups: Josh Sokol (LG), Austin Schlottmann (C) and Blake Brandel (RG); Jack Snyder (LG), Alan Ali (C) and Chris Reed (NFI)

Notes

  1. Kene Nwangwu is listed above Ty Chandler in the RB room: Despite a lack of touches in the offense to this point in his NFL career, Nwangwu seems to have gained some faith from the coaching staff as he heads into the 2023 season. It could also mean that Minnesota is content to let Alexander Mattison be a bell-cow back.
  2. Jalen Nailor in top backup group at WR: Nailor has been hyped up as one of the bigger breakout candidates for the Vikings this upcoming season. Being ranked alongside Jordan Addison in this depth chart suggests that the hype may be real.
  3. Blake Brandel shifts to guard: After starting three games at left tackle for the Vikings last season, it seems that Minnesota is shifting him to the interior of the offensive line. In the depth chart, he is listed as a right guard. We’ll see if this changes at all when Chris Reed comes back from NFI. This also potentially opens up the opportunity for Vederian Lowe to be a lead backup this year.

Defense

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Dec 4, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Jordan Hicks (58) reacts after making a stop against the New York Jets during the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Outside Linebackers

  • Starters: Danielle Hunter and Marcus Davenport
  • Backups: Pat Jones II and D.J. Wonnum; Luiji Vilain and Benton Whitley; Andre Carter II and Curtis Weaver

Defensive Ends

  • Starters: Dean Lowry and Harrison Phillips
  • Backups: Jonathan Bullard and Ross Blacklock; Jaquelin Roy and Esezi Otomewo; Sheldon Day and Junior Aho

Nose Tackles

  • Starter: Khyiris Tonga
  • Backups: T.J. Smith; Calvin Avery

Inside Linebackers

  • Starters: Brian Asamoah (MLB) and Jordan Hicks (WLB)
  • Backups: Troy Dye (MLB) and Troy Reeder (WLB); William Kwenkeu (MLB) and Ivan Pace, Jr. (WLB); Abraham Beauplan (MLB) and Wilson Huber (WLB)

Cornerbacks

  • Starters: Byron Murphy and Akayleb Evans
  • Backups: Andrew Booth, Jr. and Joejuan Williams; Mekhi Blackmon and Kalon Barnes; Jaylin Williams and Tay Gowan; NaJee Thompson and C.J. Coldon, Jr.

Safeties

  • Starters: Harrison Smith and Cam Bynum
  • Backups: Lewis Cine and Josh Metellus; Jay Ward and Theo Jackson

Notes

  1. The Khyiris Tonga experience is happening: The massive nose tackle was acquired by the Vikings last season after he was cut by the Chicago Bears. Tonga finished the 2022 season by starting the final two regular season games, and it appears that he is once again on track to be a key piece of Minnesota’s defense.
  2. Brian Asamoah is a starter: Many wondered when exactly Brian Asamoah would get his chance to shine in the Vikings defense after being a third-round pick in 2022. We may not have to wait long seeing as he is being listed as a starter next to Jordan Hicks ahead of the first preseason game.
  3. Akayleb Evans as CB2: The Vikings cornerback room is about as wide open as it gets, with only Byron Murphy being secure at the CB1 spot. However, it seems that Akayleb Evans has impressed the most so far, earning a spot at CB2.
  4. Cam Bynum at safety, not Lewis Cine: Many hoped that after his rookie season was cut short due to a compound leg fracture, we would see Lewis Cine emerge in training camp. To this point, it seems the Vikings are content to keep Bynum as the starting safety. We shall see if Cine can snag the spot as he continues to ramp things up, but for now, the Vikings have made clear who the favorite is.

Special Teams

Vikings Release First Depth Chart
Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings place kicker Greg Joseph (1) is congratulated by punter Ryan Wright (14) after kicking a field goal against the New York Giants during the third quarter of a wild card game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Kickers

  • Starter: Greg Joseph
  • Backup: Jack Podlesny

Punter

  • Starter: Ryan Wright

Long Snapper

  • Starter: Andrew DePaola

Kick Returners

  • Starter: Kene Nwangwu
  • Backups: Ty Chandler; Brandon Powell

Punt Returners

  • Starter: Jalen Reagor
  • Backups: Brandon Powell, Thayer Thomas

Notes

  1. Greg Joseph remains the starter at kicker: It would have been surprising to see anything otherwise at this point, but Matt Daniels said the Vikings have a competition at kicker between Joseph and Jack Podlesny. For now, the veteran seems to be holding off the rookie.
  2. No Jordan Addison at punt returner: Jordan Addison was seen fielding punts prior to a training camp practice and given his success as a return man in college, this led many to believe he would be in the mix to win the PR job. According to this depth chart, though, Addison is not in the battle.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.