Examining the Minnesota Vikings' roster:
Coach Mike Zimmer said he didn't think the Vikings would only carry two quarterbacks, effectively quashing the idea the Vikings could cut Ponder to free up a spot elsewhere. Ponder received his first significant work of the preseason in the Vikings' final exhibition, and could still have some value in an emergency if the Vikings aren't ready to put Bridgewater on the field and they need someone to fill in for an injured or ineffective Cassel.
RUNNING BACKS (4)
Asiata has played well during training camp and is listed ahead of McKinnon for the No. 2 running back spot behind Peterson at the moment. At the very least, both could have distinct roles behind Peterson, with Asiata as a downhill runner and McKinnon as a threat in the passing game.
WIDE RECEIVERS (6)
General manager Rick Spielman singled out Thielen -- who spent last season on the Vikings' practice squad -- as a player who had improved from last year during the Vikings' minicamp, and the Minnesota State product continued to get better throughout training camp, making contributions on special teams in addition to his work as a receiver. Undrafted free agent Kain Colter received an $8,000 signing bonus from the Vikings, but the 6-foot-5 Smith sneaks in ahead of him to give the group a bigger target; he showed on Saturday night what his size can do for him when he caught the game-winning touchdown from Bridgewater on a fade route.
TIGHT ENDS (3)
Even though Chase Ford is making progress in his recovery from a broken foot, he didn't play in a preseason game, and as much as the Vikings seemed to want to keep him, they might have to look elsewhere. If he is still hurt, that could open the door for Reisner, who caught a pair of touchdown passes from Bridgewater in goal-line situations on Saturday.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (8)
The Vikings seem set with their starting five from last season, which means Yankey will have to wait for a chance to push Johnson at left guard; everyone from Zimmer to offensive line coach Jeff Davidson seems to like the continuity the Vikings have enjoyed on the line. The Vikings worked Ducasse at tackle on Thursday night against Tennessee, and his ability to play both the guard and tackle spots might help the Vikings solve their question mark at the swing tackle spot.
DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (8)
This might be the deepest position group on the Vikings' roster, and they could all play in Zimmer's defensive line rotation. Wootton and Crichton give the Vikings a pair of versatile backups who can play inside or outside, and Johnson and Evans figure to be the primary backups at three-technique and nose tackle, respectively. Johnson has also seen time as the three-technique tackle in the Vikings' nickel rush package. If there's one player on the roster who could compel the Vikings to make room somewhere else, it might be Shamar Stephen, the seventh-round pick who has impressed Vikings coaches throughout camp and has seen time at both the three-technique and nose tackle positions.
In Cincinnati, Zimmer had linebacking groups of just six and five players, respectively, after training camp the past two seasons. If the position is similarly staffed this season, it could mean the Vikings will cut seventh-round pick Brandon Watts. There are plenty of questions at the position -- none of the three spots in the base defense is completely solidified -- but in Barr, Hodges, Mauti and Cole, the Vikings have some young talent to work with. Dean keeps his roster spot because of his continued contributions on special teams.
DEFENSIVE BACKS (11)
This position might have been the Vikings' biggest liability last season, and it remains unsettled even after the preseason. Price has been injured after a strong start to the preseason, and a quadriceps injury took Jamarca Sanford out of action again on Thursday, unable to compete for a starting spot at a safety position Zimmer said is still open. Sanford started the past two years for Leslie Frazier, but he has spent so little time on the field for Zimmer, it would take someone in the front office vouching for him in order for the Vikings to keep him at this point. Short of that, the guess here is he gets cut.
The group returns unchanged from what the Vikings had on their roster last season. Locke punted better toward the end of the season, and has already put in some work getting to know the wind patterns at TCF Bank Stadium.