Young Vikings will have to fight for work

During and after the draft, there has been a sentiment that it will be hard for some of the young players to make the Vikings roster. An early look at the depth at each position proves that sentiment right. It's a full roster of relatively proven veterans, and some previous players are going to get bumped or dumped.

It isn't even June yet, but, barring injury, most of the young players that have taken the field for the opening portion of the Vikings' OTA practices are fighting an uphill battle for survival. Based on early numbers that could change with potential injuries getting in the way, there may be less than 10 roster spots available for the 2010 53-man roster.

There typically is significant turnover from one year to the next, but the Vikings would seem to have most of the roster already. By our count, as many as 46 positions are already filled. These are the players that we are confident will make the final roster. Add them all together, it's a pretty impressive and exhaustive list.

QUARTERBACK (3) — Brett Favre, Tarvaris Jackson, Sage Rosenfels.

RUNNING BACK (3) — Adrian Peterson, Toby Gerhart, Albert Young, Naufahu Tahi.

WIDE RECEIVER (3) — Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin, Bernard Berrian.

TIGHT END (3) — Visanthe Shiancoe, Jim Kleinssasser, Jeff Dugan.

OFFENSIVE LINE (7) – Steve Hutchinson, Bryant McKinnie, Phil Loadholt, Anthony Herrera, John Sullivan, Ryan Cook, Chris DeGeare.

DEFENSIVE LINE (8) – Jared Allen, Kevin Williams, Pat Williams, Ray Edwards, Brian Robison, Jimmy Kennedy, Fred Evans, Everson Griffen.

LINEBACKER (6) – E.J. Henderson, Chad Greenway, Ben Leber, Jasper Brinkley, Heath Farwell, Kenny Onatolu.

CORNERBACK (6) — Antoine Winfield, Cedric Griffin, Lito Sheppard, Chris Cook, Benny Sapp, Asher Allen.

SAFETY (3) — Madieu Williams, Tyrell Johnson, Jamarca Sanford.

SPECIALISTS (3) — Ryan Longwell, Chris Kluwe, Cullen Loeffler.

Based just on these preliminary numbers, 46 of the 53 roster spots may already be locked down. What should make it more troubling for the young players is that it doesn't include players who have previously been on the Vikings roster – WRs Greg Lewis and Jaymar Johnson, RB Darius Reynaud, TE Garrett Mills, OL Drew Radovich, DL Letroy Guion and Jayme Mitchell, LB Erin Henderson and safeties Husain Abdullah and Eric Frampton.

And then don't forget about a couple of free-agent signings like defensive lineman Michael Montgomery or kicker Rhys Lloyd, and latter should make it as well.

Those players alone put the Vikings over the 53-man roster limit and don't take into account many of the draft picks and all of the undrafted free agents brought in for the summer ride. The hardest part of training camp appears to be not who makes the roster, but where they will stack up and what positions will get added attention. A case can be made that only a half-dozen or so roster spots are even up for consideration this season, which could make the job of who to keep and who to cut much more focused and much more difficult.

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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