Every year guys get cut that no one sees coming. So we will try to take some of the surprise factor out of it and predict some of those potentially shocking cuts the team could make this preseason.
5. Kentrell Brothers, Linebacker
Brothers was, and even after a disappointing rookie season, still is a Draftseason favorite. This guy is undersized, but can cover a ton of ground and is a true tackling machine. The problem is, he’s out with a leg injury. The Vikings have a lot of linebackers in camp, and the only ones assured of starting jobs are Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks. Which means this is a wide open battle and Brothers can’t afford to miss any time. With guys like Edmund Robinson, Emannuel Lamur, and Ben Gedeon getting reps every day, time is of the essence to Brothers. If this injury lingers, the team may just find him expendable.
4. Marcus Sherels, Cornerback
Could this be it for Sherels? The former Gopher has been one of the best punt returners in the league and has added some needed depth at the bottom of the cornerback depth chart. It seems every year he is on the roster bubble and this year will be no different. Sherels will be 30 in September and with the additions of rookie returnman Rodney Adams AND McKinnon dabbling as a return guy it might make the fan favorite expendable. What Sherels DOES have going for him is once again the lack of depth at corner. So I think this one come down to how well the other corners perform in preseason.
3. Tom Johnson, Defensive Tackle
For a few seasons now Tom Johnson has been the unsung hero of the Vikings defensive line. He was never a starter, but would always seem to make one or two splash plays a game, and would provide plenty of interior pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Last year though, Johnson’s production decreased. He had just 17 tackles with two sacks. He did miss a few games but he just didn’t seem like the same player. Now the team has brought in some competition in 4th round pick Jaleel Johnson and free agent Datone “Mother F’n” Jones. One of two things will happen. Johnson will get a fire lit under his massive tookus, or he will continue to falter and get beat out by these guys. If that happens, he could end up being one of the final guys cut before the team trims down to 53.
2. Jarius Wright, Wide Receiver
Wright was no favorite of the Vikings coaching staff a year ago, as he was rarely used. He has proven to be an effective weapon out of the slot and can be utilized out of the backfield on jet sweeps and quick hitters. The team could opt to go with a youth movement at wide receiver, which would make Wright expendable. This would be shocking, as Wright was quite involved in the number one offense in camp, at least when I was in Mankato. Instead of flat out cutting him, maybe the Vikings could trade him to a receiver needy team, and get some sort of compensation for this still talented pass catcher.
1. Latavius Murray, Running Back
Murray is a talented runner. He’s got great burst and is powerful too. The problem is, he just isn’t healthy. He was off practicing on his own, or with Bridgewater in camp. In the meantime, rookie Dalvin Cook was busy taking the majority of first team reps. If Murray can’t get on the field soon, he may fall too far behind. The team only signed him to a three year, team friendly deal, and may just decide to cut their losses with an injury settlement. If that does come to pass, it’s likely we’d see Cook, McKinnon, and then either Sankey or Ham as the Vikings’ backs in 2017.