5 Dark Horse Candidates to Make Minnesota Vikings’ 53-Man Roster

5 Dark Horse Candidates to Make the Minnesota Vikings 53-Man Roster

Minnesota Vikings Training Camp
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We all know Adrian Peterson is a lock to make the roster -- that's a given -- but the bottom of the depth chart is the area to watch in training camp. The Minnesota Vikings hope they have found some gems in the later rounds of the NFL Draft and also in their undrafted rookie pool. These five have been identified as the dark horses to make the 53-man roster.

5. Shamar Stephen, DT

Shamar Stephen
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

5. Shamar Stephen, DT

Shamar Stephen
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

At the nose tackle position, Stephen is currently behind Linval Joseph, Fred Evans and possibly Chase Baker—whom he will compete with for a roster spot. Stephen, who was taken in the seventh-round, has the size, tools and talent to do so, but he will need to have an impressive showing in training camp and in the preseason.

4. Kendall James, CB

kendall james
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4. Kendall James, CB

kendall james
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Cornerback will have the steepest competition. With 10 players vying for spots, Kendall James and Jabari Price are fighting an uphill battle as sixth-round and seventh-round picks, respectively. The good news for them is behind Xavier Rhodes and Captain Munnerlyn, it is a wide open battle. James probably has the upper-hand because of his physicality and coverage skills.

3. Antonio Richardson, OT

antonio richardson
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3. Antonio Richardson, OT

antonio richardson
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Richardson went undrafted out of Tennessee after being projected as a third-round talent, but he has a real shot of making the roster if he is fully healthy. At 6-foot-6, 336 pounds he is a mountain of a man, and If he makes the roster he will likely be a swing tackle, backing up Matt Kalil and Phil Loadholt.

2. AC Leonard, TE

ac leonard
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2. AC Leonard, TE

ac leonard
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Leonard went undrafted but has been one of the most talked about players in OTAs and certainly has a chance to unseat Chase Ford for the third and final tight end spot. Leonard is an athletic, fast pass-catching tight end, but he will need to improve his blocking skills if he has hopes of sticking on the 53-man roster.

1. Adam Thielen, WR

adam thielen
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1. Adam Thielen, WR

adam thielen
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Thielen was on the Vikings' practice squad last season after failing to make the final 53, but he is expected to compete for the fifth and final wide receiver spot with Rodney Smith, Erik Lora and Kain Colter. Thielen has had an impressive offseason so far with his improvement and work ethic. The Vikings have kept five receivers in the past but may keep six this year which will obviously be a huge factor in who makes the team.


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