Minnesota Vikings Coaching Camp: Shock Reduce Candidates


Yearly, each workforce finds somebody on the roster to waive or launch that shocks followers and out of doors observers. For the Minnesota Vikings, that shock will be as gentle as quarterback Kellen Mond in 2022, or it may be as dramatic as Alex Boone’s reduce from the roster in 2017.

We check out one of the best candidates to be shock cuts from the Vikings coaching camp roster on Aug. 29.

Minnesota Vikings Shock Reduce Candidates for Coaching Camp

LB Jordan Hicks

The Vikings don’t have a fantastic linebacker room, and releasing Eric Kendricks made it look even weaker. That stated, Jordan Hicks hasn’t carried out a lot to exhibit he belongs as a starter. The Vikings would save a modest quantity of house in opposition to the cap slicing Hicks, however the extra essential influence could be to release roster house to alleviate strain at different positions — like cornerback, receiver, or tight finish.

Whereas the Vikings don’t have an apparent candidate to take over the function — Troy Dye, Troy Reeder, and undrafted free agent rookie Ivan Tempo Jr. might all step up — there’s a considerably good probability that the next-best linebacker on the roster might get shut sufficient to Hicks’ stage of manufacturing to justify utilizing that roster spot elsewhere.

DL D.J. Wonnum

After the Vikings traded away Za’Darius Smith, the concept they could deliberately carve out extra of their edge rusher depth appears ludicrous. The place was already wanting skinny earlier than shedding Smith, and the opportunity of a Danielle Hunter holdout intensifies the priority. But when the Vikings resolve the Hunter scenario, they could give you the option to try their EDGE group and deal with the gamers who’ve one of the best probability of constructing a future influence.

In that situation, Hunter and Marcus Davenport could be established because the beginning edge rushers, and Patrick Jones II might turn out to be the following man up, though Wonnum has primarily taken that function prior to now. Rookie undrafted free agent Andre Carter II might compete for a job, as might a second-year professional from final yr’s undrafted free agent class, Luiji Vilain.

Wonnum has little or no assured left on his contract, so letting go of him would release a few million {dollars} in cap house.

OL Garrett Bradbury

Garrett Bradbury (56) on the sidelines during a game against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium.The Vikings don’t have many inside offensive linemen, however the gamers they do have there have all cross-trained at heart. Garrett Bradbury, who put one of the best yr of his profession collectively in 2022, nonetheless has had points being constant, particularly in move safety. Whereas his upside as an athletic run blocker for zone schemes will be tantalizing, an try and develop him additional might seem like a misplaced trigger to the workforce.

In that case, they could run with Austin Schlottmann or Chris Reed at heart, with the skin chance that they provide second-year lineman Josh Sokol a shot on the place.

Whereas none of those gamers encourage confidence, it could give the Vikings room to roster extra linemen elsewhere which might be harder to maintain with the present roster math — Vederian Lowe, Blake Brandel, and Oli Udoh are all nominally tackles and preserving the three of them together with the 2 starters is tough except cuts are made elsewhere.

DL Dean Lowry

The Vikings signed probably the greatest inside defenders of 2021 after they acquired Dean Lowry, previously of the Inexperienced Bay Packers. Sadly, Lowry didn’t proceed the feat into final yr, the place he struggled.

It’s at all times tempting to imagine gamers will positively regress to one of the best variations of themselves, however it’s a well-recognized story for numerous veterans throughout the league — a down yr turning into a possibility to compete in camp with one other workforce, solely to be reduce once more.

Lowry’s historical past of efficiency over the course of his profession isn’t essentially robust, and the problems that plagued his 2022 should be current. The Vikings supplied him a good quantity of assured cash, so he wouldn’t be simple to chop, but when it means discovering further room on the roster for growing gamers like Esezi Otomewo and Jaquelin Roy, together with gamers like Jonathan Bullard, it could be price it.

RB Kene Nwangwu

After slicing Dalvin Cook dinner, it appears fairly apparent that the Vikings are going to work with a number of backs so as to substitute his manufacturing, which might imply counting on a committee involving Alexander Mattison and the opposite backs on the roster.

However that doesn’t imply the opposite backs are assured a roster spot, and Nwangwu has been sluggish to choose up the nuances of the place. The Vikings might signal one other operating again fairly simply with out having to make cuts — they’ve two roster spots proper now — and the obtainable operating backs in free company proper now are extra gifted than Nwangwu, together with Kareem Hunt, Leonard Fournette, and Ezekiel Elliott.

The Vikings would want an answer at kick returner earlier than making an attempt this, nevertheless. They’ve a number of candidates on the roster, like Brandon Powell, Okay.J. Osborn, Jalen Reagor, Jalen Nailor, and NaJee Thompson. Although Nwangwu is a high-level returner, that will not matter this yr — particularly with the brand new kickoff guidelines.

CB Andrew Sales space Jr.

The Vikings have made numerous investments at cornerback over the previous few years, together with a pair of rookies in 2022’s draft and one other on this yr’s occasion. In addition they drafted a security with nickel nook expertise afterward in the identical draft. On high of that, they signed a premier cornerback in free company and one other veteran with him.

Not all of these gamers are going to have the ability to contribute. Whereas it could be a shock for the Vikings to let go of a comparatively excessive draft choose in simply his second yr, the very fact of the matter is he appears to be behind a fourth-round draft choose from the identical class and could possibly be behind a third-round rookie.

If Sales space emerges from coaching camp because the fifth cornerback on the roster, it is perhaps higher to let a participant like John Reid or NaJee Thompson, core particular teamers who might play a number of roles, take his spot.

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