Here's my attempt at a 53 man roster. I'll explain my reasoning after every position.
QB (in order of hypothetical depth chart)
The first two are locked, nothing to talk about there. However, many people have been talking about Ponder being cut. The Vikings most likely won't be cutting him because they owe him a guaranteed $1.8M. However, if they could egineer a trade, I think Ponder will be gone. We'd probably only get a 6th rounder for him, but he has little to no value for us. If he is traded, I would like the Vikes to sign a 3rd stringer. I think we should carry 3, not 2 QBs.
I actually want Joe Banyard to make the team, but the coaching staff seems to have a thing for Asiata. McKinnon will eventually take over Asiata, but Matt did have a 100 yard game last season (albeit against a Lions defense that gave up already).
I've been hearing rumors that Felton's spot isn't guaranteed, so I'll predict that this is his last season with the team. He's a great blocker but he goes unnoticed sometimes. Zach Line isn't good enough to make the team.
(This is assuming Simpson will be suspended for 3 games) The first four spots are locks. I am hoping that Jarius will have a breakout season and get more snaps. Thielen also seems like a lock as he can play WR, special teams, and can return punts. Rodney Smith was on the roster last season and has some potential, as we saw in the 2nd preseason game. If the Vikings see a WR on the waiver wire they'd like (perhaps a player like Redskins Leonard Hankerson), maybe they'll take him and cut Smith.
This is assuming that Ford will be placed on the PUP. Ellison is a solid blocker and hasn't had a ton of competition. I've always liked Reisner and I was mad when the Jaguars got him last season, but he's back and has a shot. Veteran Michael Higgins is really close, too. Chase Ford might take Reisner's spot midseason.
Waiver Claim swing tackle
What's that final spot, you ask? I believe the Vikings will do the same thing we did last season. Last year we claimed T J'Marcus Webb and made him our backup tackle, sometimes called swing tackle. Antonio Richardson has some talent but also has injury problems (that's why he went undrafted) and shouldn't be trusted as the only backup tackle on the team. Some guys who might be cut could be former 1st round busts Gabe Carimi and Derek Sherrod and veterans like Eric Winston or Bruce Campbell.
This probably matches most other 53 man roster predictions, except that last pick. I think that Stephen is a better option than Tom Johnson. Johnson is 30 and though he may be more reliable, Stephen will get better in the future. I might be wrong but we'll see how things unfold.
I am hoping that Audie Cole will win the starting spot at MLB, but Jasper Brinkley might be better in this new scheme than in years past. Dean is a special teamer who gets the nod over rookie Brandon Watts. Barr will start and get around 6 sacks, and then next year he'll hit somewhere in the vicinity of 14 sacks.
Wow, I sure like to talk about waiver claims, huh? The Vikings are short on CBs and I think a guy on another team would be better than Shaun Prater or Josh Robinson. Whoa, cutting Robinson? Really? Coach Zimmer has said some things about Robinson saying "you can't make the club in the tub" and his combined incompetence and injury woes will lose him a roster spot. 6th round rookie Kendall James has shown nothing special and has a .01% chance of making the roster. 7th round rookie Jabari Price showed much more promise in training camp and earns his spot. Derek Cox will have to be the 3rd outside CB and who knows if he will bomb like last year.
The safety position has been one of the biggest mysteries in camp. I seriously have no clue who will win it, but I think these 6 will make the team. Kurt Coleman will be the first to be cut. Sanford and Sendejo are decent options who are both at the end of their deals but should make the team. Crocker is old but Zimmer likes him. Blanton might get the starting job back, depending on if he can stay healthy and play well in the last two preseason games. Mistral Raymond needs to go. I want Antone Exum to make the team, but there is no room.
K Blair Walsh
P Jeff Locke
LS Cullen Loeffler
There's no debate to be had here.
(FYI: The NFL is expecting to expand to a 10 man practice squad this year.)
HB Joe Banyard
FB Zach Line
WR Kain Colter/WR Rodney Smith (after Simpson's return)
T Kevin Murphy
T Antonio Richardson
DE Justin Trattou
OLB Brandon Watts
FS Brandan Bishop
S Antone Exum
TE Signed after 53 man rosters are set
Not much to comment about here.
So, feel free to comment about my picks! How accurate do you think I was?