Many roster spots appear locked down

The Vikings will have a few good training camp battles, but the front-line positions all seem to be a locked down pretty tight. The battles will be among the backups.

With about a month to go until the start of training camp, there will be dozens of players that are heading to Mankato with dreams of being NFL players. Unfortunately for most of them, their dreams will be just that.

The Vikings find themselves in a good position heading into camp – with or without Brett Favre. In fact, of the 53 players that will make the final roster, barring injury, many of them have already been determined. For those youngsters trying to make the roster, the sledding won't be easy, since there won't be many open roster spots to fight for.

Here is the early breakdown of the favored players to make the roster barring injuries, leaving precious few spots open.

QUARTERBACK (3) – Favre, Sage Rosenfels, Tarvaris Jackson. It is highly unlikely that the Vikings will keep four quarterbacks. If Favre is signed, John David Booty could become the casualty at the position for the Vikings.

RUNNING BACK (4) – Adrian Peterson, Chester Taylor, Naufahu Tahi. Jeff Dugan could be added to this list, but, because he isn't a lead-pipe lock, we'll hold judgment on him as an "auto-pick." A.P. and Taylor were a strong two-man backfield last year and, with Percy Harvin expected to get use in the running game, an extra player at another position could again come from here. Ian Johnson and Albert Young will likely lock in a battle for a third pure tailback on the roster.

WIDE RECEIVER (4) – Bernard Berrian, Harvin, Sidney Rice, Bobby Wade. There will be some fierce competition between guys like Jaymar Johnson, Aundrae Allison, Glenn Holt and Darius Reynaud to lock down the fifth and final receiver spot, but it looks like the top four spots are already accounted for.

TIGHT END (3) – Visanthe Shiancoe, Jim Kleinsasser, Garrett Mills. Again, Dugan could easily slide into one of these spots, but it will be difficult to supplant any of the top three TEs without a fight.

OFFENSIVE LINE (8) – Steve Hutchinson, Bryant McKinnie, Anthony Herrera, John Sullivan, Phil Loadholt, Ryan Cook, Artis Hicks, Drew Radovich. With the versatility the Vikings get from Hicks, they may be able to avoid going with more than nine O-linemen, but they have a strong starting core to work with.

DEFENSIVE LINE (6) – Jared Allen, Kevin Williams, Pat Williams, Ray Edwards, Brian Robison, Fred Evans. The Vikings will likely keep eight or nine D-linemen. At end, Otis Grigsby, Jayme Mitchell and Kenechi Udeze may be fighting it out for one spot. At tackle the same may be true for Letroy Guion and Jimmy Kennedy, but the outcomes of the Williams Wall and their appealed suspensions may force the Vikings to keep both Guion and Kennedy.

LINEBACKER (6) – E.J. Henderson, Chad Greenway, Ben Leber, Heath Farwell, Erin Henderson, Jasper Brinkley. While Brinkley is not a guarantee, everything the Vikings said following the draft points to him being the primary backup to E.J. in the event of another injury, which could be bad news for David Herron, whose spot on the roster is far from assured. Erin Henderson might also have to fight to keep his spot.

CORNERBACK (4) – Antoine Winfield, Cedric Griffin, Charles Gordon, Asher Allen. Third-round draft picks almost always make the team even if they have a brutal training camp, which gives Allen an edge. There is likely to be one or maybe two more corners that make the final roster, with Marcus McCauley, Benny Sapp and Karl Paymah fighting it out for those precious spots. Gordon's roster status will be dependent on his ankle injury fully recovering.

SAFETY (3) – Madieu Williams, Tyrell Johnson, Husain Abdullah. There is likely a three-way battle for two spots, including Abdullah, who enters camp with the edge to lock down a spot. Rookie Jamarca Sanford and Eric Frampton are likely going to have to battle for one spot.

SPECIALISTS (3) – Ryan Longwell, Chris Kluwe, Cullen Loeffler. The Vikings have all their specialists signed and, although they will likely face training camp challenges, their jobs all appear to be safe from here.

A conservative estimate puts the number of players that have already secured roster spots at 44 – leaving just nine spots open up for battle during training camp. While injuries and age can alter perceptions in a hurry once camp begins, the Vikings enter training camp this year with confidence due in large part to having so many of their roster spots already claimed.

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