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Bleacher Report – Vikings

UPDATED: Projected 53-Man Roster (Following Preseason Game #4)


Photo – Aj Mansour (KFAN)

By: Aj Mansour | KFAN.com
@AjKFAN

Minneapolis, MN – Earlier this week I put out my projected 53-man roster. Now that we’ve seen the fourth and final preseason game and bubble players had their final chance to show what they’ve got, I’ve amended my previous 53-man roster to reflect last night’s performances and injuries.

Predicted Vikings 53-Man Roster (Starters Italicized)

QB: Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel, McLeod Bethel-Thompson
RB: Adrian Peterson, Toby Gerhart, Matt Asiata
FB: Rhett Ellison, Zach Line, Jerome Felton*
WR: Greg Jennings, Jerome Simpson, Jarius Wright, Cordarrelle Patterson , Stephen Burton
TE: Kyle Rudolph, John Carlson
OL: Matt Kalil, Charlie Johnson, John Sullivan, Brandon Fusco, Phil Loadholt, Kevin Murphy, Seth Olsen, Jeff Baca

DL: Jared Allen, Letroy Guion, Kevin Williams, Brian Robison, Everson Griffen, Sharrif Floyd, Fred Evans, D’Aundre Reed, Chase Baker
LB: Chad Greenway, Erin Henderson, Desmond Bishop, Marvin Mitchell, Audie Cole, Michael Mauti, Gerald Hodges, Larry Dean
CB: Josh Robinson, Chris Cook, Xavier Rhodes, A.J. Jefferson, Marcus Sherels
S: Harrison Smith, Jamarca Sanford, Mistral Raymond, Robert Blanton, Andrew Sendejo

P: Jeff Locke
K: Blair Walsh
LS: Cullen Loeffler

* Jerome Felton (suspended 3 games for substance abuse) will not count against the Vikings 53-man roster.

PUP List: WR Greg Childs

Cut Players (Offense): Colin Anderson, Bradley Randle, LaMark Brown, Chase Ford, Joe Berger, Travis Bond, Joe Banyard, Adam Thielen, Chris Summers, Erik Highsmith, Brandon Keith, Troy Kropog, DeMarcus Love, Rodney Smith, James Vandenberg, Jerodis Williams, Joe Webb.

Cut Players (Defense): Brandan Bishop, Brandon Burton, Everett Dawkins, Darius Eubanks, Greg McCoy, Lawrence Jackson, Marquis Jackson, George Johnson, Stanford Keglar, Anthony McCloud, Tyrone McKenzie, Spencer Nealy, Collins Ukwu, Roderick Williams, Bobby Felder.

CHANGES AFTER LAST NIGHT…

Not too many changes stemming from last night’s 24-23 preseason victory over the Titans but there were a few.

Marcus Sherels is in after he came up big Thursday night with a kickoff return for a touchdown and an interception while his counter part, Bobby Felder, tagged a bad ankle injury on to a poor performance. It’s unfortunate that one injury can cost a man his job, but it’s the way the league is. After last night, I see Felder missing the cut and hopefully finding his way onto the Vikings practice squad.
Michael Mauti makes the cut. I don’t know if it’s exactly what they preferred to have happen, but Michael Mauti has put too much on tape this preseason to clear waivers and land on the practice squad. He was highly touted out of college until the injuries took over his player bio and looks as if he is healthy and bouncing back. Audie Cole has had a suspect preseason so it wouldn’t be outlandish to see Mauti (or Bishop in a pinch) move up to serve as backup MLB.
Chase Baker in. The Vikings saw something in DT Chase Baker when they signed him to their practice squad for the 2012 season. After watching him look pretty good this preseason, and watching their depth on the interior defensive line dwindle, Baker may very well fill a need at depth on the defensive line.
Joe Webb fails to make the cut. My previous mock has Webb making the cut as the sixth wide receiver but I’ve come to realize that the linebacker situation highlighted above with Mike Mauti is of more importance than keeping a team favorite who is unlikely to have an impact on the field. Webb had five catches Thursday night but most of them came in dink and doink situations. Burton is the more polished wide receiver and LB depth is more important to this team than WR depth. Unfortunately, Webb may be the victim of a tough decision.
Xavier Rhodes moved out of starting spot. It’s been a slow preseason for rookie cornerback Xavier Rhodes who has failed to grab a starting role that was his to lose. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but Rhodes has disappeared in a few games this preseason. During the two most important games for the young CB (the third and fourth preseason games), Rhodes failed to make an appearance in the official game book meaning he didn’t register a single tackle. That’s not good when you are fighting for a starting spot. Josh Robinson, the benefactor of Rhodes poor play, hasn’t been great either but at least he’s noticed on the field. CB remains a big question for this team.
Jeff Baca in, Joe Berger out. This was a tough one for me, but when roster spots are tough to come by and players are locked up in a tight race, youth and potential usually wins out. Joe Berger, signed to a veteran’s minimum of $840K for 2013, has served as the Vikings swing man on the offensive line. Able to play guard and fill in at center, Berger has been an asset to this team just in case disaster were to strike. Rookie Jeff Baca fills this same role. Berger has failed to stand out this preseason and may prove to be expendable with the youngster pushing him from behind.

What do you think of Aj’s predicted 53-man roster? Do you love it? Hate it? Let your voice be heard and leave a comment in the comments fields below…

Aj Mansour covers Minnesota Sports for KFAN.com. Feel free to leave comments and questions regarding this post in the space provided below. For Vikings updates and breaking Vikings news, follow Aj on Twitter. @AjKFAN

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