Defensive depth chart dramatically different

The Vikings’ changes on defense from last year are even more apparent with a look at their depth chart.

In the NFL, a year can be an eternity. Things can change dramatically from one year to the next and, as it pertains to the Vikings, it’s the tale of two sides of the ball.

The Vikings released their first official/unofficial depth chart of the season and, while things look relatively static on the first line of the offensive depth chart, things have changed dramatically on the defensive side of the ball.

On offense, there are only two changes from the 2013 season opener – and both of those were anticipated. Matt Cassel is the opening-day starter at quarterback and Cordarrelle Patterson has worked his way into the starting lineup at wide receiver. Other than them, the other nine projected offensive starters remain the same as those from 2013, including all five offensive linemen, along with Adrian Peterson, Greg Jennings, Kyle Rudolph and Jerome Felton.

On defense, it’s almost a mirror image as changes abound.

On the defensive line, only Brian Robison returns as the opening-day starter. Jared Allen, Kevin Williams and Letroy Guion have been replaced by Everson Griffen, Linval Joseph and Sharrif Floyd and the changes don’t stop there.

At linebacker, only Chad Greenway remains as a starter from last season. Jasper Brinkley is listed at the starting middle linebacker and Anthony Barr is listed as the starter on the strong side.

In the secondary, Xavier Rhodes and Captain Munnerlyn are listed as the starting cornerbacks, and Harrison Smith and Robert Blanton are listed as the starters at safety.

In all, only four of the 11 starters from opening day 2013 are slated to be starters Sunday in the 2014 season opener.

Change is part of football and this year will be no different for the Vikings, but the change seems to be centralized to the defensive side of the ball. On offense, all 11 players who are listed as starters were at least part-time starters last year. On defense, change is everywhere.

Whether the continuity on offense and change on defense will pay off for the Vikings will be determined as the season progresses, but one thing appears to be clear – Norv Turner’s offense will have a lot of familiar faces to it, while the defense is going to have a lot of new faces – both in the starting lineup and coming off the bench.


  • On the second line of the opening-day depth chart on defense, five of the 11 players listed are rookies from the draft class of 2014.

  • The Vikings have nine drafted rookies in total on their 53-man roster.

    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.

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