Nov 16, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Antone Exum (32) takes the field before the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Projecting the Vikings Final 53 Man Roster | Post 1st Preseason Game

We are going to throw 53 man projections at you after each preseason game, and the thinking is that we’ll get more accurate as the season gets closer …. but that could be completely inaccurate. Check out the full 53 man predictions below.

Quarterback (2)

Teddy Bridgewater, Shaun Hill

Notes: Can’t see them having Stave on the active roster

Running Back (3)

Adrian Peterson, Jerrick McKinnon, Matt Asiata

Notes: Pains me to let Line go, but with Morgan/Ellison is he really needed?

Wide Receiver (6)

Stefon Diggs, Charles Johnson, Laquon Treadwell, Jarius Wright, Adam Thielen, Cordarrelle Patterson

Notes: MoBo lands on practice squad … let him season for a year.

Tight End (4)

Kyle Rudolph, MyCole Pruitt, David Morgan, Rhett Ellison

Notes: Ellison is a major question mark, even if he is healthy for the season opener.

Offensive Line (9)

Matt Kalil, Andre Smith, Brandon Fusco, John Sullivan, Alex Boone, TJ Clemmings, Joe Berger, Willie Beavers, Mike Harris

Notes: When you get to the bottom of this depth chart moves get very hard. I expect some surprises in this bunch.

Defensive Line (8)

Brian Robison, Linval Joseph, Sharrif Floyd, Everson Griffen, Danielle Hunter, Shamar Stephen, Tom Johnson, Justin Trattou

Notes: Weatherly will most likely find himself hanging out on the PS for a year.

Linebackers (7)

Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks, Chad Greenway, Audie Cole, Kentrell Brothers, Emmanuel Lamur, Edmund Robinson

Notes: I’m pretty confident with the linebacking selections.

Cornerbacks (6)

Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes, Terrence Newman, Captain Munnerlyn, Mackensie Alexander, Tre Roberson

Notes: Roberson sneaks in and snipes Sherels.

Safety (5)

Harrison Smith, Andrew Sendejo, Anthony Harris, Jayron Kearse, Antone Exum

Notes: One of the tougher to predict … not only who … but how many

Special Teams (3)

Kicker – Blair Walsh
Punter – Jeff Locke
Longsnapper – Kevin McDermott


Vikings Who Need to Step-Up in 2016 | #9 The “Other” Safety Position

#9 | Anthony Harris/Andrew Sendejo/Michael Griffin/Jayron Kearse

If it seems like the Vikings have been looking for a partner in crime for Harrison Smith since he has been here….. it’s because they have. Luckily for the Purple, Smith helps make up for the lack of another impactful starting safety. But just think if they could even get an average to above average starter along side of him? With the amount of money the Vikings threw at Sendejo he is the front runner to start in 2016, but lets hope one of these younger guys or even old-timer Griffin gives him a run for his money.

Why the “Other” Safety Performance is so Important

Just imagine if Smith has some help at safety, not only would it help take #22’s game to a new level but would also help elevate the Vikings secondary into one of the best in the NFC. With some solid pieces in place at corner the only true weak spot in the secondary is safety spot #2. If Sendejo wins the job … I will be mildly disappointed, while he is a capable starter, he just doesn’t have the ‘it’ factor. Having a youngster like Harris or Kearse step up in the preseason and snipe that job would be a huge win for the Vikings, not only would it give them a possible up and coming safety for the next handful of years, but he would be getting groomed by one of the best in the NFL.

If the Vikings truly want to make a run deep into the playoffs it will be on the back of the defense, and solidifying the safety spots would only help make this happen.

Best Case
Kearse or Harris step up and win the job early in the season and manage to hold the spot throughout the year, putting to rest a large need the Vikings have had for the past few years.

Worst Case
Sendejo keeps the starting job and continues to play up and down for the year and we wait another year to see if someone else can take the job.

Top 10

#10 – Charles Johnson


Vikings Who Need to Step-Up in 2016 | #10 Charles Johnson

#10 | Charles Johnson

2015 was a season to forget for Johnson as it was riddled with a rib injury and little to no impact. Johnson came off of a hot 2014 season and was looked at to be a big ole part of the Vikings offense moving forward. Unfortunately that didn’t happen and Minnesota was once again left to scramble for targets.

Why Johnson’s Performance is so Important

Minnesota needs as many weapons on offense as possible. Diggs had a coming out party in 2015, and the Vikings added Treadwell in the draft which will surely help, but come on …. we need some production out of Johnson. The early reviews from training camp are promising for Johnson who has been running with the first team. Zimmer isn’t a huge fan of handing rookies starting spots so if Johnson can help with the transition of Treadwell it could be a win-win. Lets be realistic about Johnson, he was a welcomed surprise in 2014 and has some nice aspects to his receiving game, but we don’t need OR expect him to come out and put up 75+ receptions and 1,000 yards. He just needs to show he can be a weapon when called upon and help open up the passing game and hopefully be a solid sidekick to the Diggs/Wright/Treadwell show.

Best Case
Johnson indeed wins a starting job in training camp opposite Diggs and allows the Vikings to take their time on getting Treadwell involved.

Worst Case
Johnson gets lost in the shuffle and doesn’t crack the lineup on a team with a very crackable wide receiving crew. This will be a make or break year for the Grand Valley St. product and if he can’t get himself some action his time will be limited.


10 Bold Predictions for the Vikings 2016 Season

Below are our top 10 bold predictions for the Vikings 2016 season. Don’t get to bent out of shape if you feel some of these might be a pipe-dream …. after all …. these are bold predictions.

Xavier Rhodes Doubles His Career INTs in 2016

So Rhodes only has 2 career INTs, so reaching 4 might not seem like a huge accomplishment. But trust me …. it is. Rhodes has been one of the better corners in the NFC North over the past year, he just doesn’t have the numbers to back it up. He has had the opportunities but just hasn’t been able to real in the INT. I see 2016 as Rhodes coming out party, so i’m handing him an easy 4 INTs for 2016.

Despite the Hype, Patterson Ends Season With Less Than 25 Receptions

I’m rooting for this guy just like everyone else. But lets face it, he had 2 receptions last year. Why did he only have 2 receptions? Because he never saw the field. Why didn’t he see the field? Because he wasn’t a very good wide receiver. While he has been getting rave reviews and hopefully rightfully so, I just can’t see him coming in and taking over a starting spot. I think this is the last year for #84 in a Vikings jersey and the coaching staff could be looking to the future.

Harrison Smith Earns 1st Team All-Pro

This one doesn’t seem to far fetched. Smith hasn’t gotten the love he has deserved over the past few years. Fact is … he is one of the best safeties in the league. If he can stay healthy for a full 16 games this could be a real possibility. Not only has he continued to get better at sniffing out opposing quarterbacks for the INT but he continues to rack up highlight real hard hits.

Jerick McKinnon Gets 500+ Yards Rushing AND Receiving

No secret that McKinnon will see the field more in 2016, but how much is the big question. While a 500/500 season might be a bit of wishful thinking, he has proven that he can get yards both on the ground and through the air. The problem is he hasn’t gotten a ton of opportunities. While we can agree AP is a physical freak at 31 years of age he will need a bit more time on the sidelines if he is going to play at a high level for 16 games.

Jeff Locke Will Not Be Week 1 Punter

Jeff Locke struggled mightily a season ago. He failed time and time again to pin opponents deep, and when the Vikings needed him to punt out of some bad field position, he would often reward them with a shank.  Many Vikings fans wondered why competition wasn’t brought in, and were surprised he remained the punter throughout the season.  The Vikings should look to bring in someone to challenge Locke this preseason.  If they do it’s not hard to see Locke losing that battle and ultimately his job.

Blair Walsh Will Not Miss an Extra Point This Season

Blair Walsh has been a pretty reliable kicker for the Vikings during his career.  When the team made the playoffs back in 2012, Walsh was a major part of it.  He made a ton of clutch kicks, some from way out, that sealed games.  But last year Walsh struggled.  Maybe it was due to kicking outdoors so much but Walsh was just 34/39 on field goal attempts, and 33/37 on extra points.  Every time he approached kick from mid season on, Vikings fans nervously held their breaths.  This year things will different.  Walsh will be kicking in the indoor comforts of US Bank Stadium at home, and will regain his swagger.  He will be perfect on extra points and have a field goal percentage in the upper 90s.

Eric Kendricks Will Lead the Vikings in Tackles

This isn’t a very bold prediction but one that is almost certain to come true.  Kendricks had 92 tackles in 11 starts as a rookie.  This year he will play a full 16 and it’s not out of the question that he approaches the 150 mark.  The only question is if he will end up in the middle or on the outside. Either way Kendricks is poised for a huge 2016 season.

The Vikings Will Sweep the NFC North

The Vikings are primed to make a deep playoff push. They are loaded with young talent and have an aggressive, attacking defense, lead by a brilliant head coach.  They should be seen as clear favorites to win the NFC North.  But we are going to go a little bolder here.  We are going to say they sweep the NFC North this season.  The Bears and Lions really shouldn’t be an issue, as both those teams are a season or two away from being competitive.  It’s the Packers that will be the toughest challenge.  The Packers do seem to be on the downswing, but any time you have a quarterback as talented as Aaron Rodgers, your team is never out of a game. That being said, the Vikings beat the Packers at Lambeau a year ago, and should be able to do it again in 2016.

MyCole Pruitt Will Out Produce Kyle Rudolph

MyCole Pruitt showed plenty of receiving chops in the 2015 Preseason.  Unfortunately his regular season stat sheet wasn’t overly impressive with just 10 receptions for 89 yards and no touchdowns.  But this year things will be different. Pruitt not only is going to improve those numbers, but he is going to become the team’s most productive tight end.  Yes Rudolph has the ideal size and athletic ability but that dude just can’t stay healthy.  So it’s not out of the question that Rudolph misses a handful of games this season.  If that happens Pruitt becomes the top tight end on the team, and will produce at a level that the Vikings haven’t seen since the days of Byron “The Siren” Chamberlain.

Mike Zimmer Wins Coach of the Year

I’ll keep this one simple, the Vikings have high expectations in 2016, and if they can meet those he has a legit shot. Oh …. and he is bad ass.



Bug Howard Interview | North Carolina Tar Heel Wide Receiver

DraftSeason: While the team goal is to win the ACC, what is your number 1 personal goal this year on the field?
Bug Howard: Put my team in the best position possible to win every game by doing my job at a very high level every game.

DraftSeason: What do you feel sets you apart from some of the other top receivers in the nation?
Bug Howard: My upside, 6’5 220 frame, and my ability to still be very athletic at this size. The will to do the duty work to help a teammate (Blocking). Being a student of the game knowing defenses and knowing how to beat them. My catch radius and my ability to make 50/50 balls 80/20 (catching in traffic). The pride I take into special teams.

DraftSeason: You have been catching passes from the now graduated Marquise Williams your entire career, do you foresee any growing pains or setbacks with your new quarterback in the upcoming season?
Bug Howard: I will have a better connection with Mitch this year. Mitch and I came in together and built a pretty strong connection on and off the field. #Bestie lol

DraftSeason: Greatest accomplishment on the field?
Bug Howard: Punt block vs. V-Tech last year to help win the ACC- Coastal Division! To reach the ACC Championship.

DraftSeason: Best cornerback you have had the chance to face during your college career?
Bug Howard: Kyle Fuller and Cockrell Ross

DraftSeason: No secret that you are a fan of Randy Moss, size wise you guys are a spot on match. Any other similarities you see in each others game?
Bug Howard: The ability to stretch the field, i’m not as fast as him but still able to get behind Db’s. The ability to high point the ball like no other and the effortless one handed catches. The COMPETITIVENESS!!

DraftSeason: What is an off day like for Bug Howard?
Bug Howard: Morning/ Class. Afternoon/ Team bonding doing things like (basketball, home-run derby, paintball). Night/ Go out with my girlfriend Tory Kemp (dinner/moives, inc.). Late Night/ Go on a run with my girlfriend around the town (she’s a track-star)

DraftSeason: Using one word, how would you describe your style of play.
Bug Howard: Big or Smooth

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