Personnel Analysis: Why They Made it

We take a closer look at what enabled these seven young prospects to crack the Vikings initial 53-man roster.

Four draft picks and three undrafted rookie free agents were able to make the team’s opening-week roster:

S Tyrell Johnson – Due to the neck injury to veteran Madieu Williams, the team’s top pick is going to start from Day One.  He hasn’t flashed dominance or impact presence to this point, but he hasn’t at all looked lost or out of place based on preseason action.  Johnson has all the tools to be a standout and it will just be a matter of time before he is able to play without thinking so much.  Once he gets to that stage, his athletic ability will take over and he should be a quality player.  In the meantime, the coaches are content that he’s simply reliable.

QB John David Booty – The Vikings got burned when they tried to slip developmental prospect Tyler Thigpen through waivers to the practice squad last season.  They weren’t going to take that risk again.  Booty does not possess Thigpen’s arm strength or athleticism, but he did show flashes of being an effective, quick-rhythm, West Coast-style quarterback.  He’s a rookie and he played like one during the preseason, but the upside potential is there.  Plus, the presence of a proven No. 2 quarterback in Gus Frerotte gave the team the “luxury” of carrying him at this point.

DT Letroy Guion – Another raw prospect who probably isn’t ready for primetime at the NFL level, however he showed flashes of physical talent to penetrate and get upfield.  With a year under the tutelage of DL coach Karl Dunbar, Guion could develop into an effective rotational guy.  Early on, he’ll probably be inactive quite frequently.

C John Sullivan – Put together a solid training camp, showing his intelligence from the beginning as he picked up the nuances of the offense quickly.  Has the ability, tools and mentality to be an eventual successor to Matt Birk, the player he will back up this season.

LB Erin Henderson – An undrafted free agent, E.J.’s younger brother earned the job fair and square as he consistently made plays on defense and special teams, clearly demonstrating that scouts overanalyzed him coming out of college in last Spring’s NFL Draft.  He’s looked every bit like the second- or third-round pick many projected him to be when he initially declared his eligibility as an early-entry junior.  Henderson essentially represents a “free” draft pick in that he’s not at all a typical fringe-talent rookie free agent who makes the team.  He has the ability to become a starting-caliber player if he continues to improve and stays healthy – a good get by the team’s personnel department.

OT Drew Radovich – Another priority free agent who paid off for the Vikings.  Radovich also should have been drafted, and the Vikings moved quickly to sign him after the draft, including a higher-than-normal signing bonus for undrafted players.  Kudos to the scouting department once again, as Radovich impressed the coaches early on and showed enough, despite a shoulder injury, to earn a roster spot.  Radovich doesn’t necessarily look the part physically, but he’s a skillful technician and more than held his own even at the challenging left tackle spot in limited preseason action.  He also offers the versatility to play other spots along the offensive line if needed.

S Husain Abdullah – He simply made enough plays and showed up on special teams enough to earn himself a spot.  The injury to Williams and need for depth in the deep secondary also tipped the numbers game in his favor a bit.  He’s also a high character guy that the team emphasizes more these days.

Other rookies will fill up the eight-man practice squad that comes together Sunday.  Check back for updates.

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Four draft picks and three undrafted rookie free agents were able to make the team’s opening-week roster:

S Tyrell Johnson – Due to the neck injury to veteran Madieu Williams, the team’s top pick is going to start from Day One.  He hasn’t flashed dominance or impact presence to this point, but he hasn’t at all looked lost or out of place based on preseason action.  Johnson has all the tools to be a standout and it will just be a matter of time before he is able to play without thinking so much.  Once he gets to that stage, his athletic ability will take over and he should be a quality player.  In the meantime, the coaches are content that he’s simply reliable.

QB John David Booty – The Vikings got burned when they tried to slip developmental prospect Tyler Thigpen through waivers to the practice squad last season.  They weren’t going to take that risk again.  Booty does not possess Thigpen’s arm strength or athleticism, but he did show flashes of being an effective, quick-rhythm, West Coast-style quarterback.  He’s a rookie and he played like one during the preseason, but the upside potential is there.  Plus, the presence of a proven No. 2 quarterback in Gus Frerotte gave the team the “luxury” of carrying him at this point.

DT Letroy Guion – Another raw prospect who probably isn’t ready for primetime at the NFL level, however he showed flashes of physical talent to penetrate and get upfield.  With a year under the tutelage of DL coach Karl Dunbar, Guion could develop into an effective rotational guy.  Early on, he’ll probably be inactive quite frequently.

C John Sullivan – Put together a solid training camp, showing his intelligence from the beginning as he picked up the nuances of the offense quickly.  Has the ability, tools and mentality to be an eventual successor to Matt Birk, the player he will back up this season.

LB Erin Henderson – An undrafted free agent, E.J.’s younger brother earned the job fair and square as he consistently made plays on defense and special teams, clearly demonstrating that scouts overanalyzed him coming out of college in last Spring’s NFL Draft.  He’s looked every bit like the second- or third-round pick many projected him to be when he initially declared his eligibility as an early-entry junior.  Henderson essentially represents a “free” draft pick in that he’s not at all a typical fringe-talent rookie free agent who makes the team.  He has the ability to become a starting-caliber player if he continues to improve and stays healthy – a good get by the team’s personnel department.

OT Drew Radovich – Another priority free agent who paid off for the Vikings.  Radovich also should have been drafted, and the Vikings moved quickly to sign him after the draft, including a higher-than-normal signing bonus for undrafted players.  Kudos to the scouting department once again, as Radovich impressed the coaches early on and showed enough, despite a shoulder injury, to earn a roster spot.  Radovich doesn’t necessarily look the part physically, but he’s a skillful technician and more than held his own even at the challenging left tackle spot in limited preseason action.  He also offers the versatility to play other spots along the offensive line if needed.

S Husain Abdullah – He simply made enough plays and showed up on special teams enough to earn himself a spot.  The injury to Williams and need for depth in the deep secondary also tipped the numbers game in his favor a bit.  He’s also a high character guy that the team emphasizes more these days.

Other rookies will fill up the eight-man practice squad that comes together Sunday.  Check back for updates.

Join the Discussion


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