Minnesota Vikings: 53-man roster grades

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 27: Sam Bradford (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 27: Sam Bradford (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

Now that the Minnesota Vikings brass have completed the cut down to 53, let’s break down the quality of the team down by position groups.

This season the Minnesota Vikings are hopeful of a playoff run. They have a nice mix of experience and young legs. Seven of 11 draft choices made the roster which is a good sign. For grading purposes, we will use the old school system of A = Excellent, B = Good and C = Average.


Sam Bradford did an admirable job on short notice last season. He completed over 70 percent of his passes. He threw for nearly 4,000 yards, 20 touchdowns and 5 picks. His rating was a stellar 99.5, which was much higher than any of his previous seasons. He is a top 15 quarterback in the league.

Case Keenum played well in the preseason and appears to be a solid back up. The Vikings are optimistic that Teddy Bridgewater’s leg will heal this season to position him to play if needed. But, long-term, his future with the club remains in question.

Grade: B

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Running Backs

In the backfield, the Vikings have a required mix of speed, size, blocking ability as well as the pass catching component.

Dalvin Cook appears to have an explosion and break away capacity that most elite rushing attacks possess in their ground game.

Latavius Murray can pick up a blitz, is a good receiver and will supply the power for the difficult short yardage gains.

Jerick McKinnon is a change of pace runner with a burst and return skills. C.J. Ham is the available lead blocker when called upon. He has shown well in the preseason.

Grade B

Wide Receivers

Sam Bradford has more than enough weapons to make the Vikings a concern for opposing defenses. The wide receiving core is likely the highlight of the offence. The field can be stretched and opened up with both Stefon Diggs and Michael Floyd when he returns. Adam Thielen, Laquon Treadwell and Jarius Wright will work the short and intermediary routes well. Rookies Stacy Coles and Rodney Adams have speed and will add quality depth.

Grade: B+

Tight Ends

Kyle Rudolph leads this group and hopefully he can remain healthy this season. He has had injury issues in previous years. He played well in 2016 and he is an important facet within the offense for Bradford.

David Morgan is a beast and a bruising blocker.

Bucky Hodges was released in favor of Blake Bell from San Francisco. The former Oklahoma Sooner came into the league two years ago as a fourth round pick of the 49ers. He has measurables that should provide versatility to the position.

Grade: B-

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Vikings News: Minnesota makes a QB decision for Week 15 vs. the Bengals /

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  • Offensive Line

    The obvious weak spot and likely the most crucial to the Vikings success will be the play of their offensive line this season. Last year does not need to be rehashed, but suffice it to say, the unit needs to gel quickly. Five new starters are here now and none are near pro bowl caliber.

    Riley Reiff takes over at left tackle. Nick Easton replaces Alex Boone at left guard, who was a surprising cut. Apparently, he did not fit the new zone blocking scheme. Rookie Pat Elflein starts at center and shows promise. Veteran Joe Berger moves over to right guard. Free agent acquisition Mike Remmers now mans the right tackle spot.

    The strength of the line will likely be in their run blocking with maulers Remmers, Easton and Reiff. But, the most important factor will be their ability to pass block.

    Depth comes in the form of rookie guard Danny Isidora and holdovers Jeremiah Sirles and tackle Rashod Hill. However, the success of the offence will be predicated on the line’s ability to gel in the early season and to remain healthy.

    Grade: C-

    Defensive Line

    The consistent strength of the Vikings lies in their defense. It starts up front with tackle Linval Joseph and ends Everson Griffin and Danielle Hunter. The run defense needs to play better this year and that starts with Joseph, Tom Johnson and Shamar Stephen. Rookie Jaleel Johnson will add size and toughness inside while Tashawn Bower has speed off the edge. From the preseason, they appear capable of making an impact.

    Grade: B


    There is unproven depth within the unit as fourth round pick Ben Gedeon is set to replace Chad Greenway. Emmanuel Lamur, rookie Eric Wilson and Kentrell Brothers will play well on special teams, but none is a high-end backer. Middle linebacker Eric Kendricks and especially Anthony Barr need to be outstanding for this group to prosper as a whole. Barr disappointed fans in 2016 and is still a question mark.

    Grade: C+

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    Defensive Secondary

    Mike Zimmer plays an aggressive and attacking style on defense. His defensive backfield has experience and for the most part, has played cohesively as a unit for a few years now.

    Cornerback Xavier Rhodes and safety Harrison Smith are the leaders. Their play goes a long way toward the success of the defense. Other members of the secondary fill their roles well, but none are elite athletes or impact performers on their own accord.

    The recent trade for Tramaine Brock from Seattle should solidify the nickel spot, as Mackenzie Alexander failed to grab his opportunity.

    Grade: B –

    Special Teams

    The Vikings coverage teams have played well the past few seasons. That should be the case this year and this is an important aspect of football. Return men Jerick McKinnon and Marcus Sherels will provide the odd spark. However, they won’t make anyone forget Cordarelle Patterson. Kicker Kai Forbath and punter Ryan Quigley do not have sustained success in the league, so the jury is still out on them.

    Grade: C+

    Next: Here's what the Wolves need for success

    We are just days away from the Vikings kicking off their regular season play. The first game of the season is September 11 against the New Orleans Saints from U.S. Bank Stadium on Monday Night Football.