By Brad Berreman @bradberreman24 on July 30, 2014
As the Minnesota Vikings look to put a 5-10-1 2013 season behind them with a new coaching staff in place, the battle for roster spots and roles has gotten going during training camp.
With the first preseason game 10 days away, here's my early projection for the Vikings' final 53-man roster and depth chart.
Cassel and Bridgewater are battling for the starting job. Ponder's guaranteed salary for this season will keep him around as the No. 3 quarterback.
Asiata and McKinnon could both see playing time behind Peterson. Zach Line may be able to stick as a backup fullback behind Felton.
The top four are locked in here, barring injury. Thielen has built on a strong offseason showing with a good start to camp. Kain Colter may also enter the mix for a final roster spot as camp goes on.
Rudolph and the Vikings recently agreed to a five-year contract extension, and he is a breakout candidate in Norv Turner's offense. Ellison fits as a blocker/h-back type, while Leonard is likely to stick as a more traditional backup to Rudolph.
Matt Kalil (OT)
Charlie Johnson (OG)
John Sullivan (C)
Brandon Fusco (OG)
Phil Loadholt (OT)
Kevin Murphy (OT)
David Yankey (OG)
Joe Berger (OG/C)
Jeff Baca (OG)
Johnson may face a challenge from Yankey at left guard, but otherwise the five starters are established here.
Brian Robison (DE)
Everson Griffen (DE)
Sharrif Floyd (DT)
Linval Joseph (DT)
Corey Wootton (DE)
Fred Evans (DT)
Scott Crichton (DE)
Tom Johnson (DT)
The Vikings are very deep here, with the spotlight going to Floyd and Griffen as they move into starting roles.
Barr will be a player to watch here, since his usage in the preseason should be a pre-cursor for how he'll be used when the games count. Brinkley is back with the Vikings, and he's a better fit for the new defensive scheme after being miscast as a Cover-2 middle linebacker under the previous regime.
The Vikings made an effort to add depth here this offseason, and Blanton could become the starter at safety alongside Smith if he can continue to perform well.
K Blair Walsh
P Jeff Locke
Long Snapper-Cullen Loeffler
This group is unchanged from last season, and Loeffler is now the longest-tenured Viking.
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