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Heimdallr

Evaluating & Projecting The Roster

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How does everyone see the depth chart shaking out? What are the toughest decisions that need to be made?

 

Here is how I currently see things:

QB: Kirk CousinsTrevor Siemian, Kyle Sloter
RB: Dalvin Cook, Latavius Murray, CJ Ham (FB), Mack Brown, Roc Thomas
TE: Kyle Rudolph, Tyler Conklin, David Morgan, Blake Bell
WR: Adam Thielen, Laquon Treadwell, Stacy Coley, Korey Robertson
WR: Stefon Diggs, Kendall Wright, Cayleb Jones

LT: Reilly Reiff, Aviante Collins
LG: Nick Easton, Tom Compton
C: Pat Elflein, Cornelius Edison
RG: Mike Remmers, Danny Isidora, Colby Gossett
RT: Brian O'Neill, Rashod Hill

RE: Everson Griffen, Stephen Weatherly, Ifeadi Odenigbo, Ade Aruna
NT: Linval Joseph, Jaleel Johnson
DT: Sheldon Richardson, Jalyn Holmes
LE: Danielle Hunter, Brian Robison, Tashon Bower

SLB: Anthony Barr, Eric Wilson
MLB: Eric Kendricks, Kentrell Brothers, Devante Downs
WLB: Ben Gedeon, Antwione Williams, Reshard Cliett

CB: Xavier Rhodes, Mike Hughes (KR/PR), Holton Hill, Horace Richardson
CB: Trae Waynes, Mackensie Alexander, Marcus Sherels
S: Harrison Smith, Jayron Kearse, Jack Tocho
S: Andrew Sendejo, Anthony Harris, Tray Matthews

ST: Daniel Carlson, Ryan Quigley, Kevin McDermott

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I agree with your roster predictions almost entirely.

I would add that I think Mata'afa will find his way onto the 53 man roster. The battle between Whetherly, Bower, Odenigbo, Aruna and Mata'afa will be an interesting one.

I really believe both Hughes and O'Neill will be starters this year. Hughes will likely push out Alexander as the NCB.  And O'Neill's game film has really impressed me and I believe he has a good chance to push out Hill as the starting RT (or LT and Rieff moves to RT).

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1 minute ago, Dolmonite26 said:

I would add that I think Mata'afa will find his way onto the 53 man roster. The battle between Whetherly, Bower, Odenigbo, Aruna and Mata'afa will be an interesting one.

I don't see any way Mata'afa even makes the PS. He is undersized with tiny arms and is not overly athletic... Pretty much the opposite of a Zimmer DE. He is also too small to play DT and not athletic enough (at least based on his numbers) to play LB. 

I also don't really see room for Aruna on the roster given we already have Weatherly, Bower and Odenigbo, but Aruna has the tools to be a prime PS candidate.

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This is a fun exercise. There always seems to be a vet or FA who gets released to some surprise (Boone and Datone Jones), but from what we know now: 

QB (3): Cousins, Siemian, Sloter

RB (3-4): Cook, Murray, plus 1-2 more. CJ Ham is a good player in multiple roles, so I give him a good shot. Maybe they keep one of the UDFAs, Thomas or power back Kamryn Pettway. 

WR (5-6): Diggs, Thielen, Wright I think are the only locks. Treadwell could be on the bubble -- if he doesn't show improvement through preseason he could be traded or released. the lack of another drafted WR will help his case. King will have to win a spot vs Coley, Cayleb Jones and the new UDFAs. I liked Cayleb Jones a lot last year, and Coley was good, so I'd bet on both of them over the new crop. 

TE (3): Rudolph, Morgan, Conklin. 

OL (9-10): Reiff, Easton, Elflein, Remmers, Hill is my guess for the week one starting OL. O'Neill, Isidora and Gossett make it as depth, probably Compton since he's versatile and friends with Cousins, and maybe Aviante Collins.

DT (4-5): Joseph, Richardson, Jaleel Johnson, Holmes. I think Mata'afa will have a real chance of making the team as a nickel DT pass rusher -- the fact that the Vikings signed him and makes me think there's a plan on both sides. Otherwise he could've gone somewhere that didn't have the kind of DL depth the Vikings do, or that play a system where he would be a 3-4 OLB or whatever. Zimmer loves undersized 3-techs who are "slippery" pass rushers, and that's exactly what Mata'afa is. 

DE (4-5): Griffen, Hunter are the only locks. I think Robison needs to be upgraded and may retire or be this year's Boone-style veteran release. I think Weatherly is done, he had 2 years and produced nothing. I expect Bower to stick and hopefully Aruna, I have much higher hopes for him than Odenigbo. 

LB (5-6): Barr, Kendricks, Gedeon, plus 2 more. If Downs is healthy, he could push Brothers off the team. Eric Wilson was really good last year and probably sticks as the OLB backup.

CB (5-6): Rhodes, Waynes, Hughes, Alexander. Hill should make the team if he can stay clean. They can move on from Sherels if Hughes is returning punts.

S (4): Smith, Sendejo, Harris. Probably Kearse unless a UDFA (Matthews) beats him out. 

ST (3): Carlson, Quigley, McDermott

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13 minutes ago, Krauser said:

Zimmer loves undersized 3-techs who are "slippery" pass rushers, and that's exactly what Mata'afa is. 

Huh? Mata'afa could gain 35 pounds and would still be undersized for a 3-tech. No way he can play there.

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Battles I see

RB3

WR5-6

OL9-10 depending on how many they keep

DE 3-5 Will be intersting

 LB5-6 I think Dooley has a chance depending on how they roster Mata’afa. I think Brothers will be gone leaving Wilson as only returning backup. 

CB 5-6

K

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18 minutes ago, Heimdallr said:

Huh? Mata'afa could gain 35 pounds and would still be undersized for a 3-tech. No way he can play there.

Not on every down but as an interior pass rush specialist in nickel. Ask him to do this: 

Nothing says you have to be 280+ to get interior penetration as a 3rd down pass rusher. It's not too different from having Robison (259 pounds) stand up as a 3-tech pass rusher, or putting a LB in a gap as a blitzed. Since Mata'afa's best pass rush move is his explosive first steps, I'd try to keep him on the LOS and make his path to the backfield as short as possible. 

Not sure he could play 3-tech DT on early downs or even on 3rd and short-to-medium, though to be fair he was a very good run defender in college and some of the best DL run defenders are smaller/lighter. Not sure he can make the team in such a specialist role but if he's good on special teams maybe that gets him a depth spot. 

I know it's a weird idea but it makes more sense to me that he should stick with the position he excelled at in college than convert to an off-ball LB or a true edge rusher, neither of which he's shown any aptitude for.

Zimmer does seem to love undersized DTs and has brought players in with that profile (Tom Johnson 280, Dylan Bradley 265) who've done much better on the field than their measurements would've predicted.

I have to imagine that Mata'afa had some other offers, so if he signed with the Vikings I'm guessing they gave him a better offer (much as they paid a premium last year for Collins, Bower, etc), and that might include a discussion of his potential role with the team. If he thinks he's really a 3-4 OLB, he's on the wrong team. And there are many easier rosters to crack at DE/edge than the Vikings. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Krauser said:

Nothing says you have to be 280+ to get interior penetration as a 3rd down pass rusher. It's not too different from having Robison (259 pounds) stand up as a 3-tech pass rusher, or putting a LB in a gap as a blitzed. Since Mata'afa's best pass rush move is his explosive first steps, I'd try to keep him on the LOS and make his path to the backfield as short as possible. 

This is exactly how I'm envisioning his potential role in this system, or at least the potential that the staff sees in him.

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I was thinking, with the addition of Hughes and maybe Hill,  our CB depth chart would be

Rhodes

Waynes 

Alexander 

Hughes

Hill

Sherels

Do you think they would want to try move one to safety?  Particularly Alexander as he's played the slot and may get bumped out by Hughes and depending on how Holton Hill does come training camp

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Reworking this so it's easier to follow: 

Roster locks as starters / major contributors

Offense (10): Cousins, Cook, Murray, Diggs, Thielen, Rudolph, Reiff, Easton, Elflein, Remmers

Defense (12): Griffen, Hunter, Joseph, Richardson, Barr, Kendricks, Gedeon, Rhodes, Waynes, Hughes, Smith, Sendejo

Depth and/or development that seem very likely to make the team:

Offense (7): Siemian, Sloter, Wright, Conklin, Morgan, O'Neill, Hill

Defense (4): Jaleel Johnson, Holmes, Alexander, Harris

...That adds up to 17 on offense, 16 on defense where I'd be very surprised if they didn't make the team. Allowing 3 spots for special team, that leaves 17 spots:

17 non-rookie depth and/or development players that could be on the bubble

Offense (9): Ham, Treadwell, King, Coley, Bell, Isidora, Compton, Collins

Defense (8): Robison, Weatherly, Bower, Brothers, Wilson, Sherels, Kearse

...That adds up to 53 (50 aside from special teams), before adding a late round pick, rookie UDFA or 2017 practice squad player.

--------------------------------- 53 players (50 aside from special teams) above this line --------------------------------------------

Late round and UDFA rookies plus 2017 practice squad players with a semi-realistic shot

Offense (10): RB Roc Thomas, RB Kamryn Pettway, RB Mike Boone, RB Mack Brown, WR Cayleb Jones, WR Korey Robertson, WR Jake Wieneke, WR Jeff Badet, OG Colby Gossett, OC Cornelius Edison

Defense (9): DE Ade Aruna, DT Dylan Bradley, DL Hercules Mata'afa, LB Devante Downs, LB Garrett Dooley, LB Reshard Cliett, CB Holton Hill, S Tray Matthews, S Jack Tocho

...For each of the 19 players below the line who make the 53 man roster, one of the players above that line has to go.

For instance, if they wanted to keep Roc Thomas, Cayleb Jones, Gossett, Aruna, Downs and Hill, they'd have to let go 6 players above that line (maybe something like: Ham, King, Bell, Weatherly, Brothers and Sherels).

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I would like if Terence Newman would stay in good shape during the season so we can sign him in case one of our CB’s gets hurt.

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On the roster (before UDFAs announced): 

QB (3): Cousins, Siemian, Sloter
RB (4): Cook, Murray, Brown, Ham
WR (8): Thielen, Diggs, Wright, Treadwell, Coley, Jones, King, Zylstra
TE: (5): Rudolph, Morgan, Bell, Price, Conklin
OL (15): Reiff, Easton, Elflein, Compton, Remmers, Hill, Isidora, Andrews, Collins, Edison, Joseph, Lang, Norton, O'Neill, Gossett
DL (13): Griffen, Joseph, Richardson, Hunter, Robison, Johnson, Weatherly, Bower, Bradley, Odenigbo, Lyons, Holmes, Aruna
LB (8): Barr, Kendricks, Gedeon, Wilson, Brothers, Cliett, Williams, Downs
DB (11): Rhodes, Waynes, Smith, Sendejo, Alexander, Harris, Kearse, Tocho, Sherels, Richardson, Hughes
ST (5): Forbath, Quigley, McDermott, Dooley, Carlson

That's 72 names. Leaves room for another 18 through the offseason.

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Posted (edited)

All hopeful squad: (53)

QB (3): Cousins, Siemian, Sloter

RB (3): Cook, Murray, Thomas

FB (1): Ham

WR (6): Diggs, Thielen, Wright, Treadwell, Coley, Robertson

TE (3): Rudolph, Morgan, Conklin 

OL (9): Reiff, Easton, Elflein, Remmers, O'Neil, Hill, Compton, Gossett, Isidora

DT (5): Joseph, Richardson, J Johnson, Holmes, Mata'afa

DE (4): Griffen, Hunter, Bower, Aruna

LB (5): Barr, Kendricks, Gedeon, Downs, Wilson

CB (6): Rhodes, Waynes, Hughes, Alexander, Newman, Hill

S (5): Smith, Sendejo, Harris, Kearse, Matthews

ST (3): Carlson, Quigley, McDermott

Name cuts: Robison, Brothers, Sherels, Kai, Newman

Bolded = Prospects [Picks/Undrafted]

Additions = Free Agents

 

[Upgrade / Downgrade / Unknown]

Cousins <---Keenum... Siemiam <--- Bradford [unknown status]... Sloter <--- Teddy [unknown]... Richardson <--- T Johnson... Hughes <--- Sherels.

Holmes <--- Stephen... Carlson <--- Kai... Downs <--- Brothers... Conklin <--- Bell... Wright <--- Floyd... Hill <--- Brock... Cook <--- Jet... Aruna <--- Robison

 

Conclusion: Our roster is stronger overall, primarily because I think the upgrade at starting QB will be shown as significant and we are getting 2 difference makers in Cook and Richardson, while holding the rest of the roster stable

 

Edited by CriminalMind

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This team has such a talented roster. I think the Vikes can go as far as anyone if they can avoid major injuries and Cousins can elevate his game.

I do have some depth concerns on defense. We look kind of thin at DT and LB. An injury to Joseph, Barr or Kendricks would be devastating. I don't think we have adequate backups at those spots.

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Posted (edited)

it's so tough to predict at this point, pretty much every depth player can be cut with little financial consequence so it will camp battles to decide who stays and who goes. 

i will say, i doubt treadwell is a cut candidate since there would be $5,215,900 in dead money ($2,506,360 on top of his cap hit this year). trade is more likely, but i don't think we have anything better behind him and wouldn't trust relying on cayleb jones, stacy coley or any of our new UDFAs to produce if needed.

as mentioned, brian robison could be cut. our starting defensive line is stacked and we have a lot of young, unproven players behind them. we have a few young players as candidates to replace robison's role of being a nickel rusher at 3 tech so if they like what they see from some of the young defensive linemen then they could opt to cut robison and save ~$3.5 million. 

marcus sherels is another vet that could be cut. it would save $900k, we have hughes who could handle returning duties and i could see the team opting to re-sign newman to get some veteran depth at corner. i'm assuming holton hill makes the roster in this scenario.

 

QB: Kirk Cousins, Trevor Siemian, Kyle Sloter

HB: Dalvin Cook, Latavius Murray, Roc Thomas

FB: CJ Ham

WR: Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Kendall Wright, Laquon Treadwell. no idea who gets the last spot or two. 

TE: Kyle Rudolph, David Morgan, Tyler Conklin

OL: Riley Reiff, Nick Easton, Pat Elflein, Mike Remmers, Rashod Hill, Brian O'Neill, Danny Isidora, Colby Gossett. Not sure who gets the 9th spot.

* 24-25 spots on offense

DT: Sheldon Richardson, Linval Joseph, Jaleel Johnson, Jalyn Holmes, Hercules Mata'afa

DE: Everson Griffen, Danielle Hunter, Tashawn Bower, Ade Aruna

LB: Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks, Ben Gedeon. no idea which two are behind them.

CB: Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes, Mackenzie Alexander, Mike Hughes, Terence Newman, Holton Hill

S: Harrison Smith, Andrew Sendejo, Anthony Harris, Jayron Kearse

* 24 spots on defense

ST: Daniel Carlson, Pat Quigley, Kevin McDermott

* 3 spots on special teams

 

i know i'm short a spot but that's my best guess so far. 

Edited by whitehops

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