I think there is a slim chance that Ponder could be dealt before the start of the regular season. If he ends up getting traded I would expect the Vikings to receive at least a 6th round pick, like Blaine Gabbert netted for the Jags on the trade to the 49ers.
RB (3): Peterson, McKinnon and Joe Banyard
Banyard or Asiata? Last week I had Asiata edging Banyard, but after another impressive game against Kansas City, I have Joe Banyard willing a roster spot. Still a question in the tailback position is to keep a FB (Felton) or to keep Asiata as well. Arif has Asiata being Peterson’s back-up which I strongly believed would the case as well, but Banyard keep impressing me the preseason.
FB (1): Felton
This is still a tough call, to keep Felton or go with Zack Line out of SMU. What makes this more difficult is that neither have played much during the preseason, one could still believe that they keep 4 RB's and cut both Felton and Line and keep Matt Asiata, but in my opinion Felton still makes the cut.
TE (3): Rudolph, Ellison, and Chase Ford
Chase Ford has finally be activated from the PUP list but is it too late? Allen Reisner has hauled in three of Teddy Bridgewater’s four Touchdown passes this weekend, and seems to have a good rapport with the future starting QB of the Minnesota Vikings. Barring another injury I think Chase Ford should still make the team, but now Reisner has been pushing to make the roster as well. Would the Vikings go with 4 RB’s or 4 TE’s and cut the FB position? There is a lot of competition at each position so possibly. I see Arif has Mike Higgins making the squad who showed he is a pretty solid run blocker, but I don’t think he makes the team.
(Update) Mike Higgins was waived to reach the final 75 players going into Thursday’s game again the Titans.
WR (5): Jennings, Patterson, Wright, Smith, and Adam Thielen,
with (Simpson - suspended)
Arif Hasan and I are on the same page at the WR position. My previous prediction is still intact after the last preseason game. Thielen provide his worth again as a receiver and as a return man. Rodney Smith caught all 4 passed thrown his way on Saturday and Should make the final 53 for however long as Jerome Simpson is suspended.
O-Line: (5) Starters Kalil, Johnson, Sullivan, Fusco, Phil Loadholt
Nothing changes in the starting five.
Back up O-line: (3)
G: Yankey, Berger - T: Antonio "Tiny" Richardson
I think both Yankey and Berger are still locks to make the club. Undrafted Tiny Richardson out of Tennessee did not get much playing time this last weekend, but I think if the Vikings cut him they will not get an opportunity to sign him to the practice squad so he will end up on the team. Austin Wentworth gave up a safety on Saturday, and he kind of looked lost at times. I think he can still become a solid player in the league, but will most likely have to develop on the practice squad, if not another team.
DT (5): Joseph, Floyd, Evans, Johnson and Shamar Stephen
I now believe that Shamar Stephen has shown enough to make the team. Last week I had only Johnson making the team. Stephen showed he can play very well against the run while playing the most snaps out of all the DT this past Saturday at 34 snaps, with Tom Johnson 32.
DE (4): Robison, Griffen, Crichton, and Corey Wootton
Still no surprises here.
LB (7): Barr, Brinkley, Cole, Greenway, Dean, Hodges, and Brandon Watts
This is still tough to figure out. Larry Dean played 28 snaps on Saturday which was 4th most by all the LBs. Michael Mauti got an early look during Saturdays game, but ended up with only 15 snaps. This leads me, and me others to believe that he is on the chopping block. Arif believes that Mauti makes the squad, but I think that Larry Dean’s leadership on special teams will help him make the team over Mauti. If Mauti is cut, I would except him to land on another team.
CB (5): Munnerlyn, Rhodes, Robinson, Sherels, and Jabari Price
I was very surprised that veteran Derek Cox was cut already. After they signed him, and Zimmer publicly criticized Josh Robinson I thought there was a chance that Cox could have been as high as the third CB on the team. Mr. Hasan and I agree on all 5 of the CB’s on the roster. With Derek Cox being waived it opened up a spot for Jabari Price. He has played great so far this preseason. I still think there is a chance that Sherels is let go, and they look to keep Kendall James, or Shaun Prater on the 53 man list, but I really don’t want to see Marcus go.
S (6): Smith, Blanton, Coleman, Sanford, Sendejo, and Antone Exum
Tough break for Mistral Raymond getting put on the waived/injured list, even though I think he would have had a slim chance to make team anyways. Sanford also was injured on Saturday and expressed frustration that he has been limited in what he has shown the new coaching staff, Jamarca also took a pay cut to stay with the Vikings in the offseason, and hopefully he makes the team. Sendejo should make the team mainly because of his strong special teams play. It was interesting that Antone Exum did not even get a single defensive snap Saturday against Kansas City and only played on special teams. However I think he will make the team regardless. Arif thinks that Chris Crocker makes the team, which I don’t necessarily disagree with, but if he is on the roster week 1, his salary will become fully guaranteed, so I think he will get cut, and possibly brought back after week 1 against the Rams.
Specialists (3): Loeffler, Walsh, Locke (Locks).
Practice Squad: (10) Kendall James, (2014 Draft pick), Dominique Williams, Zach Line, Zac Kerin, Kain Coulter, Austin Wentworth, Isame Faciance, Mike Zimmer (not coach Zimmer) the rest will most likely be from other teams.
Arif and I are thinking along the same lines for the 10 player practice squad. There is absolutely no way you can predict the practice squad. Another team might claim the player after they are cut, and the Vikings could also try to lure players cut to be a part of the Vikings practice squad. Unlike Arif I will leave 2 spots open that are currently not on the Vikings Roster. If Ponder does end up getting cut, or traded look for the Vikings to add another QB, most likely to the teams practice squad.
---You can follow Dylan Ackeman on Twitter at @@dmacker86
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