Defensive Depth Chart, Comments

The defensive depth chart is expected to switch this weekend with the arrival of the rookies. We take a look at how it looked in April's minicamp and explain the changes that could take place throughout the summer as the rookies gain more experience and confidence.

Pos. First Team Second Team Third Team
LDE: 95-Kenechi Udeze 98-Darrion Scott 91-Ray Edwards
Comments: Udeze looked like he was holding back nothing in April's minicamp, and the Vikings have an influx of talent to back him up should he regress from his impressive recovery from microfracture surgery. Undrafted rookie Jayme Mitchell will be fighting for a spot on the practice squad.
DT: 93-Kevin Williams 97-Spencer Johnson 96-C.J. Mosley
Comments: Eventually, the Vikings will have to whittle down their defensive tackles, but for their summer camps they have a nice rotation of the obvious starters in Kevin and Pat Williams and solid backups in Spencer Johnson and C.J. Mosley.
DT: 94-Pat Williams 96-C.J. Mosley 90-Eric Taylor
Comments: With strong depth at both end and tackle, Taylor was rotating inside and outside. Undrafted rookie Hopoi Manase might be fighting for a practice squad spot.
RDE: 99-Erasmus James 92-DeQuincy Scott 91-Ray Edwards
Comments: This could be the year that the Vikings' defensive line all comes together, with solid, young players and strong coaching. Edwards might have to beat out one of the Scotts for a roster spot, which means showing no signs of poor work habits.
OLB: 56-E.J. Henderson 52-Chad Greenway 54-Dontarrious Thomas
Comments: E.J. Henderson is expected to take a good number of reps at middle linebacker this weekend so the Vikings can get a good look at the rookie Greenway on the weak side. Kyle McKenize, an undrafted rookie from the University of Minnesota, offers depth.
MLB: 54-Dontarrious Thomas 58-Napoleon Harris 50-Rod Davis
Comments: This is how it looked in the first minicamp, but Henderson could end up being the starting middle linebacker if Greenway looks sharp on the weak side. Either way, Thomas, Harris and Davis probably are in a battle for one or two roster spots between them.
OLB: 51-Ben Leber 50-Rod Davis 59-Heath Farwell
Comments: All along, we've been told Leber is best suited on the strong side, but the coaches still want all of the linebackers to know all three positions.
CB: 26-Antoine Winfield 36-Dovonte Edwards 37-Dustin Fox
Comments: Winfield's spot is probably the only starting one that is guaranteed among the cornerbacks. Edwards worked outside in the first nickel defense in April, with Winfield sliding inside in nickel. Undrafted rookie Charles Gordon should push for a roster spot on the 53-man rostedr or practice squad.
FS: 42-Darren Sharper 31-Will Hunter 28-Laroni Gallishaw
Comments: With more depth at cornerback this year, Gallishaw, an undrafted rookie who made the team in 2005, saw some time at safety in April's camp. He'll have to adapt quickly if he wants a roster spot again this September.
SS: 25-Tank Williams 24-Willie Offord 20-Greg Blue
Comments: Willie Offord didn't see any full-team work in April while still recovering from last year's ACL surgery. Williams is the likely starter, but Offord could push him once healthy.
CB: 21-Fred Smoot 23-Cedric Griffin 48-Ukee Dozier
Comments: Smoot is hoping to rebound from a lackluster first year with the Vikings, but if he doesn't Griffin could be a close second if he impresses the coaches in this camp and throughout the summer. Marvin Ward, R.J. Cobbs also offers depth, and Ronyell Whitaker is in NFL Europe.

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