Just like every other training camp/preseason, each team will have bubble players yearning for those final roster spots. Below are 5 guys on the Vikings who need to show up this August if they still want to wear that beautiful purple jersey in 2016.
Crichton was a third round pick of the Vikings back in 2014. At the time the pick seemed like a steal, as some draft experts had Crichton pegged as a late first to mid second round value. Three years later Crichton has 0 career starts and just 10 tackles. He’s been extremely underwhelming and it appears Mike Zimmer and the defensive coaching staff is losing patience with him. If Crichton doesn’t step it up in camp this year he’ll be gone, and seen as one of the Vikings bigger draft busts in recent memory.
Charles Johnson broke out the end of the 2014 season, with 415 receiving yards and a couple of touchdowns. He appeared primed and ready for a stellar 2015 campaign. But what did he do? He caught 9 passes for 127 yards and no touchdowns. There were rumblings that he was secretly injured, but it sure didn’t look that way. With Treadwell, Diggs, Wright, and Thielen all but assured roster spots, it’ll come down to Johnson and Patterson for that fifth spot. With Patterson being a former first rounder he’ll clearly have the edge, and it could be Johnson who is looking for a new home come this September.
Locke is no lock to be the Vikings punter in 2016. He had a very sub par 2015 season where he struggled to pin opponent’s deep in their own end, or kick the Vikings out of poor field position. It was shocking really that the team didn’t bring in anyone mid season to challenge him for his job. PFF did an article recently of the top 32 punter in the league and Locke wasn’t even on it. That is how poorly objective eyes see him. The team would be wise to bring in anyone to compete with Locke during camp, or scour the waiver wire this labor day weekend and see if an experience punter is available. It would be very heartbreaking if Jeff Locke’s horseshit punting holds this team back from making the deep playoff run it appears primed for.
The fact that price is still on the roster means that the Vikings must see something in the 2014 7th round draft pick. Afte playing in 14 games as a rookie in 2014 he has failed to see the field since due to injury and suspension. The tough part with Price is, he has actually looked pretty good when on the field, just can’t seem to get him ON the field. With guys like Newman, Rhodes, Waynes, Munnerlyn locks to make the roster, Price will be fighting Sherels and White for that final spot on the roster.
While Hill has had some good moments coming off the bench in his career, the 36 year olds time could be limited. Look for 3rd stringer Taylor Heinicke to make a serious run at the backup spot in preseason, if he can leap Hill on the depth chart it would no doubt be the end of Hill’s second stint with the Vikings. While they could still keep him around for that veteran presence and knowledge source for Teddy/Taylor, i’m just not sold it is worth the roster spot any longer.