What a crazy week at work. The first week of school is always a hectic time, and I didn’t intend to neglect this blog for so long! In any case, over a month ago, the Minnesota Vikings began training camp, and I made my predictions for which players would make the final roster. The deadline to cut the roster down to the final 53 players was last night, and this morning teams were able to make claims on everyone’s else’s cuts. The Vikings did make a couple of claims, and as of right now they have their 53 guys for the 2012 season. So, read on after the jump to see what their roster looks like.
QB: Christian Ponder, Joe Webb, McLeod Bethel-Thompson
RB: Adrian Peterson, Toby Gerhardt, Matt Asiata
FB: Jerome Felton
WR: Percy Harvin, Jerome Simpson (suspended for 1st 3 games), Michael Jenkins, Jarius Wright, Stephen Burton, Devin Aromashodu
TE: Kyle Rudolph, John Carlson, Rhett Ellison, Allen Reisner
LT: Matt Kalil
LG: Charlie Johnson
C: John Sullivan
RG: Brandon Fusco
RT: Phil Loadholt
OL: Geoff Schwartz, Joe Berger, Matt Asper
RDE: Jared Allen, Everson Griffen
UT: Kevin Williams, Christian Ballard
NT: Letroy Guion, Fred Evans
LDE: Brian Robison, D’Aundrae Reed
SLB: Chad Greenway, Larry Dean
MLB: Jasper Brinkley, Tyrone McKenzie, Audie Cole
WLB: Erin Henderson, Marvin Mitchell
LCB: Antoine Winfield, Brandon Burton, Marcus Sherels
RCB: Chris Cook, Josh Robinson, AJ Jefferson
SS: Mistral Raymond, Robert Blanton
FS: Jamarca Sanford, Harrison Smith, Andrew Sendejo
P: Chris Kluwe
K: Blair Walsh
LS: Cullen Loeffler
WR: Greg Childs
OT: DeMarcus Love
DB: Nicholas Taylor
I was surprised to see quarterback Sage Rosenfels get cut in favor of the younger, raw McLeod Bethel-Thompson. But apparently the team is very much committed to their youth movement roster rebuild. Prior to the Pre-season I figured Lex Hilliard had the 3rd RB spot nailed down, but after seeing him play, and comparing that to Matt Asiata’s dominant performance, I completely agree with the depth chart switch. They also only kept one FB instead of two with Ryan D’Imperio getting the axe. I was almost correct in guessing the wide receivers, however, the freak injury to both of Greg Childs’ knees opened the door for Stephen Burton to make the team. Because of Simpson’s suspension, Devin Aromashodu has found a place on the team as well. If I had to guess, I’d say it will be will a competition between Aromashodu and Burton to stick once Simpson returns from suspension (I think Burton will win that one). I did a pretty good job calling the offensive line and tight ends. Offensive tackle DeMarcus Love went on injured reserve, and they opted to keep the Iowa tight end Allen Reisner as a fourth tight end. They also only kept 24 on offense instead of the balanced 25 which surprised me a little bit that. So, overall, I missed on 6 of the 25 picks I made, putting my accuracy at 76% correct (an alternate way to look at it is that I got 19 of the 24 players correct making it 79% accurate).
On defense, the biggest mistake I made was having Everson Griffen at LB. When Training camp started, Griffen had been moved to LB, but after about a week, they quickly moved him back to his natural position of DE. This threw off my predictions somewhat, as I assumed they were committed to transitioning him to LB. I got the rest of the linebackers and defensive line correct with the exception of Trevor Guyton (cut) and Tyrone McKenzie (kept). At corner-back, Chris Carr seemed like a lock heading into training camp, but he looked dreadful in the preseason, routinely getting beat deep, and making all kinds of terrible decisions, so it’s good that he was cut. CB Zach Bowman initially made the team, but the Vikings made a last minute trade with Arizona to get AJ Jefferson and ultimately cut Bowman too. They also kept Marcus Sherels, primarily for his return skills, which was surprising to me. I got the safeties right, with the exception of them keeping a 5th guy: Andrew Sendejo. Ultimately the Vikings kept 26 defenders instead of 25, and I missed on 8 of them (including the wrong position for Griffin). This puts my accuracy at 69%. I also called all 3 special teamers, but that wasn’t difficult as there was no competition for their 3 spots. So, overall, I missed on 14 of the 53 guys, giving me a 74% accuracy rate. Not too bad considering that the Vikings turned over 31% of the roster compared to last year. More importantly though, they have 9 new starters out of 22 (41%) on offense and defense. So, this will be a very different looking Vikings team in 2012.
And this is where I make my predictions about the Vikings chances for 2012. The Vikes are in a tough division once again with the Green Bay Packers favorites to win the division, and the Bears and Lions battling for 2nd place and a potential wild card spot in the playoffs. I don’t think the Vikings will be competitive in the division, and they will be lucky to pull off even a single divisional win. However, outside the division, their schedule looks pretty easy with games against some pretty bad teams: Jacksonville, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Seattle and Arizona, with 2 of those games being home games. We will win a few games in 2012, but I’m not seeing more than about 5 wins on the schedule. Seeing as how we only had 3 wins last season, 5 wins would be an improvement! I expect us to be high in the draft next year again, and since this rebuild is likely a 2-year project (with the first year being this year) it’s not necessarily a bad thing. I think we’re still a few years away from being competitive. But I like the youth movement, and if we can continue to build through the draft, then we’ll have a nice core to build upon who will come into their prime a few years from now, just as teams like the Packers and Bears begin to fade with age.