Minnesota Vikings could have five rookie starters in 2013

Apr 26, 2012; Eden Prairie, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman and head coach Leslie Frazier introduce the 2013 1st round draft picks Sharrif Floyd (76) and Xavier Rhodes (29) and Cordarrelle Patterson (84) at at a press conference at Winter Park. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings may start as many as five new rookies during the 2013 season.

The Vikings are not afraid to throw rookies into the fire, as seen in 2012 when they started five rookies: left tackle Matt Kalil (16 games), safety Harrison Smith (16 games), kicker Blair Walsh (16 games), cornerback Josh Robinson (6 games), and Jarius Wright (1 game).

First-round picks defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, cornerback Xavier Rhodes and wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson are expected to contribute right away based on depth at their respected positions. Linebacker Gerald Hodges, a fourth-round pick from Penn St., comes from a school well known for producing NFL-ready linebackers. Depending on how fellow Penn St. linebacker Michael Mauti does in his recovery from a torn ACL, he may see some time at middle linebacker this season as well—but it is less likely. Last but not least, fifth-round draft pick punter Jeff Locke could replace Chris Kluwe, much like how Walsh replaced Ryan Longwell last season.

Here is a projected depth chart where you could realistically see five rookie starters for the Vikings during the 2013 season:

** = Potential rookie starter

Offense

QB: Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel, Joe Webb, McLeod Bethel-Thompson

HB: Adrian Peterson, Toby Gerhart, Matt Asiata

FB: Jerome Felton

TE: Kyle Rudolph, John Carlson, Rhett Ellison

WR: Greg Jennings, Jarius Wright, Stephen Burton

WR: **Cordarrelle Patterson, Jerome Simpson, Rodney Smith

LT: Matt Kalil, Troy Kropog

LG: Charlie Johnson, Jeff Baca

C: John Sullivan, Joe Berger

RG: Brandon Fusco, Travis Bond

RT: Phil Loadholt

Defense

RE: Jared Allen, Everson Griffen

DT: Kevin Williams, Christian Ballard, Everett Dawkins

DT: **Sharrif Floyd, Letroy Guion, Fred Evans

LE: Brian Robison, Lawrence Jackson, George Johnson

WLB: **Gerald Hodges, Marvin Mitchell

MLB: Erin Henderson, Audie Cole, Michael MautiTyrone McKenzie

SLB: Chad Greenway, Larry Dean

LCB: Chris Cook, Josh Robinson, Marcus Sherels

RCB: **Xavier Rhodes, A.J. Jefferson

SS: Jamarca Sanford, Mistral Raymond

FS: Harrison Smith, Robert Blanton, Andrew Sendejo

Special Teams

PK: Blair Walsh

P: **Jeff Locke, Chris Kluwe

LS: Cullen Loeffler

KR: **Cordarrelle Patterson, Marcus Sherels

PR: Marcus Sherels, Josh Robinson, Jarius Wright

Topics: Minnesota Vikings

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