Predicting the Minnesota Vikings’ 2014 Starters

Predicting the 2014 Vikings Starters

Mike Zimmer Minnesota Vikings
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Free agency is over. The 2014 NFL Draft is over. With the 2014 NFL season only a few months away, it is time to begin looking at what the rosters could look like. The Minnesota Vikings acquired some interesting players in both free agency and the draft so this team could look very different than the 2013 edition.

Here’s an early look at what the Vikings’ starting lineup could look like when the 2014 NFL season finally begins.

QB: Teddy Bridgewater

Teddy Bridgewater Minnesota Vikings
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QB: Teddy Bridgewater

Teddy Bridgewater Minnesota Vikings
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The safe pick here would be Matt Cassel. However, it really seems like new head coach Mike Zimmer and new offensive coordinator Norv Turner would like Bridgewater to be the starter. Bridgewater is a pro-ready quarterback and will likely have to prove it in 2014.

RB: Adrian Peterson

Adrian Peterson Minnesota Vikings
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RB: Adrian Peterson

Adrian Peterson Minnesota Vikings
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To the surprise of no one, the 2012 NFL MVP and arguably the best running back in the NFL will remain the Vikings’ starting running back this season.

WR: Greg Jennings and Cordarrelle Patterson

Cordarrelle Patterson Minnesota Vikings
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WR: Greg Jennings and Cordarrelle Patterson

Cordarrelle Patterson Minnesota Vikings
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After an electric rookie season, Patterson should replace Jerome Simpson as the number two wide receiver on the Vikings' depth chart. Despite a down year in 2013, Jennings will remain the Vikings' number one wide receiver barring injury.

TE: Kyle Rudolph

Kyle Rudolph Minnesota Vikings
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TE: Kyle Rudolph

Kyle Rudolph Minnesota Vikings
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Rudolph missed the majority of the 2013 NFL season with a fractured foot, but he is expected to be ready to play come training camp. There is little doubt that he will reassume his role as starting tight end once the regular season begins.

OT: Matt Kalil (LT) and Phil Loadholt (RT)

Matt Kalil Minnesota Vikings
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OT: Matt Kalil (LT) and Phil Loadholt (RT)

Matt Kalil Minnesota Vikings
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The Vikings offensive line has been one of the team’s strengths in recent seasons. Expect both Kalil and Loadholt to continue providing above average pass and run blocking.

G: Charlie Johnson (LG) and Brandon Fusco (RG)

Brandon Fusco Minnesota Vikings
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G: Charlie Johnson (LG) and Brandon Fusco (RG)

Brandon Fusco Minnesota Vikings
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Expect the Vikings to begin the 2014 regular with the same guards as 2013. However, it is very possible that fifth-round draft pick David Yankey will overtake either Johnson or Fusco at one of the guard positions.

C: John Sullivan

John Sullivan Minnesota Vikings
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C: John Sullivan

John Sullivan Minnesota Vikings
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As one of the top players at his position, Sullivan will undoubtedly be the Vikings’ starter at center barring injury.

DE: Brian Robison (LE) and Everson Griffen (RE)

Everson Griffen Minnesota Vikings
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DE: Brian Robison (LE) and Everson Griffen (RE)

Everson Griffen Minnesota Vikings
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings have paid both Robison and Griffen big money to provide consistent defensive line play. Third-round draft pick Scott Crichton will likely see time in a rotational role, but Robison and Griffen will be the Vikings' starters at defensive end.

DT: Linval Joseph (LDT) and Shariff Floyd (RDT)

Linval Joseph Minnesota Vikings
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DT: Linval Joseph (LDT) and Shariff Floyd (RDT)

Linval Joseph Minnesota Vikings
The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

Zimmer has stated that he will run a 4-3 defensive scheme in Minnesota. However, it remains to be seen how he will line up his defensive tackles. Regardless, the Vikings did not pay Joseph big money to sit on the bench and Floyd will get his opportunity to start after the Vikings released Letroy Guion during the offseason.

OLB: Chad Greenway (Sam) and Anthony Barr (Will)

Anthony Barr Minnesota Vikings
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OLB: Chad Greenway (Sam) and Anthony Barr (Will)

Anthony Barr Minnesota Vikings
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Seven-year veteran Greenway will remain the Vikings starting strong side linebacker. Barr, one of the Vikings’ first round selections, will have little trouble assuming the weak side linebacker position given his elite athleticism and lack of competition for the position.

MLB: Audie Cole

Audie Cole Minnesota Vikings
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MLB: Audie Cole

Audie Cole Minnesota Vikings
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

During the offseason, the Vikings signed Jasper Brinkley, who played with the team from 2009 to 2012. Despite the signing, Cole likely will be the Vikings’ starting middle linebacker after an impressive 42 tackles in four starts last season.

CB: Xavier Rhodes and Captain Munnerlyn

Captain Munnerlyn Minnesota Vikings
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CB: Xavier Rhodes and Captain Munnerlyn

Captain Munnerlyn Minnesota Vikings
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During the offseason, the Vikings gave Munnerlyn a three-year contract to help bring consistency to a dreadful Vikings' secondary. Expect him to start opposite over second-year cornerback Rhodes who showed promise last season before suffering an injury.

FS: Harrison Smith

Harrison Smith Minnesota Vikings
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FS: Harrison Smith

Harrison Smith Minnesota Vikings
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Andrew Sendejo played well at free safety while Smith was injured in 2013, but not well enough to assume the starting role. Smith has been one of the few consistent players in the Vikings' secondary over the past two seasons.

SS: Jamarca Sanford

Jamarca Sanford Minnesota Vikings
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

SS: Jamarca Sanford

Jamarca Sanford Minnesota Vikings
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This may be the most difficult position to predict on the Vikings' roster. The Vikings recently signed Kurt Coleman to add depth at the safety position and also have Mistral Raymond, Robert Blanton and Sendejo already on their roster. Expect a competition at the strong safety position, but Sanford will likely be the starter.

Special Teams

Blair Walsh Minnesota Vikings
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Special Teams

Blair Walsh Minnesota Vikings
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Blair Walsh will be the kicker and Jeff Locke will be the punter for the Vikings. Cullen Loeffler will return as the team’s long snapper and Locke will continue to handle the holding duties. Patterson will undoubtedly be the kick returner and Marcus Sherels will likely continue to return punts for the Vikings.

Robert Reidell is a Minnesota Vikings Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, ”Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google+


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