MINNEAPOLIS -- Over the course of the next several weeks before training camp, we're going to analyze the Minnesota Vikings' roster by ranking players 1 through 53 in order of importance. This isn't necessarily the same as ranking the best players on the roster -- some players might wind up higher or lower on the list because of the importance of their position or the Vikings' depth situation at that position. This will also serve as the unofficial start of our 53-man roster projections, which will continue through training camp.
Today, we'll start with players 53-46.
53. Kevin McDermott, LS
The Vikings could wind up keeping Cullen Loeffler here, so they'll have options in training camp; coach Mike Priefer has said the Vikings will keep whichever long snapper is better in Mankato. But the fact the Vikings only gave Loeffler a one-year deal would suggest they might be looking to move on; McDermott is only 25 and could wind up working with Blair Walsh and Jeff Locke after Loeffler's performance slipped in 2014.
52. Justin Trattou, DE
The 6-foot-4 end got a few snaps of work at the end of the regular season and could be called upon again this year if young pass-rushers like Scott Crichton and Danielle Hunter don't pan out. He got time at the left and right end spots during minicamp; once the Vikings put the pads on in training camp, he'll get to show whether he can put his added strength to work after bulking up this offseason.
51. Mike Harris, OT
There's plenty of intrigue surrounding Babatunde Aiyegbusi at tackle, but if Harris claims one of the final spots on the Vikings' offensive line, his versatility will be a big reason why. He played right tackle during minicamp with Phil Loadholt still recovering from a torn pectoral muscle and filled in at both right tackle and right guard last year. Harris' history with Norv Turner, and his ability to play a couple of different positions, makes him worth keeping on a line that will otherwise have young backups.
50. Casey Matthews, LB
That he was injured during all of the Vikings' spring program meant he didn't get a chance to build his case for a roster spot, but Matthews is an experienced linebacker who should help on special teams and can play a couple of different linebacker spots in a pinch.
49. Adam Thielen, WR
Thielen proved to be an eager contributor on special teams in his first full NFL season. It remains to be seen whether he'll offer more than that in his second year; he's a precise route-runner with good hands, but the Vikings have plenty of young wideouts. Still, Thielen got a look as a punt returner during minicamp and was one of the Vikings' best special teams players a year ago -- he posted 10 tackles and returned his blocked punt for a touchdown against Carolina.
48. David Yankey, G
The Vikings gave Yankey a little bit of work with their first-team offense at the end of minicamp, but the second-year player will have to show more in training camp if he wants to beat out a number of rookies for a starting spot. He wasn't strong enough to be an effective guard as a rookie, though the Vikings seemed happy with the training he had done to add muscle this offseason.
47. MyCole Pruitt, TE
A fifth-round pick out of Southern Illinois, Pruitt could be a weapon for the Vikings in Year 1. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner pushed for the Vikings to draft him, and the Vikings have worked him out at tight end and in the backfield. He's a sharp route runner who has enough strength at 255 pounds to hold up as a blocker. If Pruitt comes close to making good on the Charles Clay comparisons, the Vikings will have a steal.
46. Stefon Diggs, WR
Here's another player who has a chance to turn heads as a rookie; Diggs was a dynamic punt returner in college (though his best work was as a freshman at Maryland), and the Vikings think he has a chance to be a weapon after the catch. Diggs got plenty of his touches on screens, quick breaking routes and jet sweeps in college; he could see some of the same opportunities with the Vikings, who already have some of those things in their playbook for Cordarrelle Patterson.