The Minnesota Vikings must cut their roster to 75 by 4 p.m. ET Tuesday (Aug. 30) and to 53 by 4 p.m. ET Saturday (Sept. 3). Here’s a final 53-man roster projection:
It would be three if Taylor Heinicke was healthy, but coach Mike Zimmer said last week Heinicke could still be out another 6-8 weeks after he sliced a tendon in his foot this summer. Joel Stave hasn't done enough to land a roster spot, so the Vikings will likely start with two QBs and hope they avoid an injury before Heinicke returns. In reality, though, if Bridgewater gets hurt, the Vikings' Super Bowl hopes will be in jeopardy.
The Vikings remain as deep here as any team in the league with the same trio they've had for the past two seasons. Peterson will get most of the work, but as McKinnon takes on a more diversified role in the offense and Asiata fills in as a capable blocker and receiver, there should be opportunities for all three backs.
FULLBACK (1): Zach Line
If the Vikings keep four tight ends -- as it appears they could -- some have speculated it could be Line who gets bumped off the final roster. It's hard to see that happening, though; he has turned into a trusted blocker for Peterson and an occasional receiving option out of the backfield.
There's plenty of depth in the group, but who will become the top receiver? Treadwell (the 23rd overall pick in the draft) doesn't figure to start right away, and Thielen has been pushing for a spot in the Vikings' three-receiver set while Wright nurses a calf injury. Things could be fluid at receiver for much of the season.
Ellison's return from a torn patellar tendon could put Morgan on the bubble, but the sixth-round pick has likely done enough to earn a roster spot after an impressive camp in which he has participated with the Vikings' first-string offense in Ellison's absence.
Injuries -- and the undisclosed illness that has kept Mike Harris off the field -- have sapped some of the Vikings' depth here, and there's no guarantee the group will be completely reformed following a year in which it allowed too much pressure on Bridgewater. The Vikings will hope for solid play from both of their tackles and keep their fingers crossed that Sullivan can stay healthy after two back surgeries.
The big question here is whether Floyd can stay healthy and get beyond the knee issues that have lingered since last season. If he can, the Vikings have a deep, versatile group that should have offensive coordinators working some late nights trying to devise their protection schemes. Griffen, who made his first Pro Bowl last season, is one of the league's best edge rushers, and Joseph could have been in the Pro Bowl if not for a turf toe issue that slowed him down in the second half. Watch out for Hunter, whom the Vikings believe could become a terror on the edge.
Kendricks has dealt with a hamstring strain since the end of training camp, but if he's ready to go, this should be a fast, disruptive group that has more depth than it had in the past. Lamur could push Greenway at the weak-side spot, or at least get on the field in some sub packages, and Robinson has looked much improved in his second training camp.
The Vikings have as much cornerback depth as they've had in a long time, particularly if highly-drafted youngsters such as Waynes and Alexander can be counted on. Sendejo seems to have an edge over his competitors at the second safety spot, but Griffin -- whom the Vikings signed from Tennessee -- could eventually nudge him out. The 6-foot-4 Kearse is an intriguing athlete who the Vikings could decide to keep rather than exposing him to waivers while trying to get him on the practice squad.
Walsh insists he has moved on from his crushing 27-yard miss in the wild-card round of the playoffs in January, and Locke is still the punter despite the Vikings' occasional intimations they could bring in competition for him. His status as the holder for Walsh also makes him an important part of the Vikings' special-teams group. McDermott received a new four-year, $4 million deal during training camp.