Leslie Frazier (Bruce Kluckhohn/USA TODAY)
The Vikings roster will have several remaining positions up for grabs during training camp, but more than two-thirds of the roster appears to be locked in already.
In a little more than a week, 90 players will descend on Mankato convinced that they will be a member of the 2013 Vikings. But, as happened during the Brad Childress regime, there are far fewer spots actually up for grabs in the third full year of the post-Chilly era than might meet the eye.
As General Manager Rick Spielman has fashioned a 53-man roster in his own vision for success, the number of spots actually available isn’t that many. Consider the positions that are already guaranteed to make the roster barring injury:
Quarterbacks (2) – Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel.
Running Backs (3) – Adrian Peterson, Toby Gerhart, Jerome Felton.
Wide Receivers (4) – Greg Jennings, Cordarrelle Patterson, Jerome Simpson, Jarius Wright.
Tight Ends (3) – Kyle Rudolph, John Carlson, Rhett Ellison.
Offensive Line (5) – Matt Kalil, John Sullivan, Phil Loadholt, Charlie Johnson, Brandon Fusco.
Defensive Line (7) – Jared Allen, Brian Robison, Kevin Williams, Letroy Guion, Fred Evans, Sharrif Floyd, Everson Griffen.
Linebackers (5) – Chad Greenway, Erin Henderson, Desmond Bishop, Gerald Hodges, Marvin Mitchell.
Cornerbacks (3) – Xavier Rhodes, Chris Cook, Josh Robinson.
Safeties (4) – Harrison Smith, Jamarca Sanford, Robert Blanton, Mistral Raymond.
Specialists (3) – Blair Walsh, Jeff Locke, Cullen Loeffler.
When you do the math on just those players who would appear to be locks to make the roster, it would appear that 39 of the 53 rosters spots have already been accounted for. If you factor in a No. 3 quarterback, the available spots drops to 14 and doesn’t include players like Joe Webb, Joe Berger, Christian Ballard, Larry Dean, A.J. Jefferson, Marcus Sherels or the handful of late-round draft picks that Vikings thought so much of. If just the veterans listed above make the final roster, there are going to be 37 players competing for just seven roster spots.
The Vikings have done a good job of developing new talent under Spielman’s watch and he has transformed the roster in a pretty short period of time. Rookie classes have tended to largely make the final roster and, after stocking the shelves the last couple of years, the Vikings find themselves in a similar position they had in 2010, when they knew that most of the available roster spots have already been claimed.
They are hoping the Vikings of 2013 have more success than the group that came out of Mankato three years ago knowing who was going to be on the roster.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.