While the Vikings have 54 players under contract, the final composition of the roster isn't exactly what a lot of people expected. Here's our breakdown of what the Vikings have moving forward.
Quarterbacks (3) – Donovan McNabb, Christian Ponder, Joe Webb. No surprises here. The biggest question is who will be the No. 2 and No. 3 QB when play begins next Sunday.
Running Backs (3) – Lorenzo Booker, Toby Gerhart, Adrian Peterson. The Vikings have never had such few running backs in the history of the team. The only reason the Vikings don't have a fullback is that they didn't like either of the candidates, but, after making a bid on Jerome Felton only to lose out to Carolina, the roster maneuvering here may not be finished.
Wide Receivers (5) – Devin Aromashodu, Bernard Berrian, Greg Camarillo, Percy Harvin, Michael Jenkins. There were some challenges to the five spots expected to be fought for, but, in the end, the five favorites got the jobs. Don't expect to see any non-injury changes here.
Tight Ends (4) – Jim Kleinsasser, Allen Reisner, Kyle Rudolph, Visanthe Shiancoe. Jeff Dugan being cut was a partial surprise, but the Vikings saw enough in Reisner to view him as a better long-term investment given that both Shiancoe and Kleinsasser are in the final years of their contracts.
Offensive Linemen (10) – Patrick Brown, Jon Cooper, Brandon Fusco, Anthony Herrera, Steve Hutchinson, Charlie Johnson, Phil Loadholt, DeMarcus Love, Seth Olsen, John Sullivan. There is a lot of youth in this group – Loadholt is second only to Hutchinson in career starts and he's only been around two seasons. If the Vikings are going to succeed offensively, they're going to need this group to stand up under new coaching leadership.
Defensive Linemen (10) – Jared Allen, Adrian Awasom, Remi Ayodele, Christian Ballard, Fred Evans, Everson Griffen, Letroy Guion, D'Aundre Reed, Brian Robison, Kevin Williams (suspended for two games). With Pat Williams and Ray Edwards gone for good and Kevin Williams out for the first two games, players like Ballard, Robison and Griffen will be asked to make much bigger contributions. It's hard to imagine the team will go the entire season with 10 defensive linemen, but they may have been hoping to protect a player like Reed from getting claimed as teams were in the process of assembling practice squads. Once that is done, it might be easier to try to slide Reed onto the practice squad. He is most likely to go down when Williams is activated.
Linebackers (5) – Larry Dean, Chad Greenway, E.J. Henderson, Erin Henderson, Kenny Onatolu. Beyond the starters, the only current backups are Dean and Onatolu, neither of whom has more than minimal playing experience, not to mention that Erin Henderson has never been a full-time starter. If there is a player they like on the waiver wire, they might make a move here to add backup help.
Cornerbacks (6) – Asher Allen, Brandon Burton, Chris Cook, Cedric Griffin, Marcus Sherels, Antoine Winfield. If Allen was healthy, the Vikings may have kept just five cornerbacks. Burton is likely more at risk than Sherels, but the Vikings aren't likely to go too long with six CBs on the roster.
Safeties (5) – Husain Abdullah, Eric Frampton, Tyrell Johnson, Mistral Raymond, Jamarca Sanford. Some thought this might come down to Johnson, Frampton or Raymond, but, in the end, they kept them all. In time that may change, but, for now, they're keeping the band together.
Specialists (3) – Chris Kluwe, Cullen Loeffler, Ryan Longwell. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. The special teams ain't broke.
With 800 players hitting the open market Saturday, the signings will begin today and practice squads will be formed. For those who survived the cuts that were on the bubble, they can sleep well tonight knowing the team thought enough of them to keep them on the 53-man roster. However, they may not be able to rest easy until they're getting on a plane for San Diego Saturday. A lot could potentially change between now and then.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.