MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings' roster has been among the NFL's youngest since 2011, when the team embraced a draft-and-develop strategy. And even with the addition of players like 37-year-old Terence Newman and 35-year-old Shaun Hill to the roster, the Vikings will once again be one of the NFL's most youthful teams.
Their roster is one of the league's 10 youngest, with two different compilations putting the Vikings at ninth and seventh. The Vikings will have one of the league's youngest players in defensive end Danielle Hunter, who doesn't turn 21 until October, and according to NFLSavant.com, the Vikings have an average age of 26.37 years.
Here are some other tidbits about how the 2015 Vikings were built.
Thirty-nine of the team's 53 players have seen all of their NFL snaps for the Vikings, and that group includes 33 draft picks. All six of the Vikings' linebackers, and seven of their nine defensive linemen, were drafted by the team. As the team has tried to build a defense for coach Mike Zimmer, it's acquired eight of its 24 defenders through the last two drafts.
There are five players from UCLA on the roster, and a team-high 10 players from the Pac-12, but it's interesting to note that 13 of the roster's 53 players come from outside the Power 5 conferences. That's up from 12 a year ago, and the Vikings have at least one player from outside a Power 5 conference on every offensive and defensive position group. We've often discussed how the Vikings' current roster construction philosophy is built on the supreme confidence of the coaching staff to get the most out of players, and the team remains unafraid to find players from remote corners of the college landscape, believing Mike Zimmer and company can help them develop. Players like Jerick McKinnon (Georgia Southern), Brandon Fusco (Slippery Rock), Charles Johnson (Grand Valley State) and Adam Thielen (Minnesota State) certainly reflect that belief.
Speaking of Thielen, the Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, native is one of four players on the roster or practice squad to have played high school or college football in Minnesota. Thielen, Isaac Fruechte (Caledonia, Minn.) and Marcus Sherels (Rochester, Minn.) have played in the state since their childhoods, and defensive end Zach Moore -- whom the Vikings added to their practice squad this week -- played at Division II Concordia (St. Paul), becoming the first draft pick from the school when the New England Patriots picked him last year. Asked if the presence of Minnesota-based players was because the Vikings can do more in-person scouting of players right under their nose, coach Mike Zimmer said, "I don’t think it’s so much that. I think we get plenty of info on everybody. I just think some of the local guys, if they have a choice between a couple of different teams, they’d prefer to come home."