Vikings' offense could have as many as five new starters

With free agency and the draft in the rearview mirror, and organized team activities and minicamps in full swing, here’s a starting lineup projection for the Minnesota Vikings:


QB: Sam Bradford: He returns as the starter, looking to secure a long-term deal with Teddy Bridgewater's future still uncertain.

RB: Latavius Murray: He'll get the first crack at being the main ball carrier, though Dalvin Cook should have a significant role, as well.

WR: Adam Thielen: The former undrafted free agent was the Vikings' top downfield threat a year ago. No other wideout averaged more than 10 yards per air target, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

LT: Riley Reiff: A five-year, $58.5 million contract made him the highest-paid tackle in the free-agent market this year. He's a better run blocker than pass protector, but he'll have to handle Bradford's blind side.

LG: Alex Boone: In the second-year of a four-year contract, he'll try to get off to a better start than he did in 2016 with a new tackle next to him.

C: Pat Elflein: The Vikings will keep the third-round pick at center, not guard, meaning he could get a chance to start from the beginning of the year here if he shows he's ready.

RG: Joe Berger: The versatile veteran has started at guard before, and if the Vikings are confident in Elflein, they could move Berger out here again.

RT: Mike Remmers: He's back in Minnesota for his second tour with the Vikings after signing a five-year deal in March.

TE: Kyle Rudolph: Two years after signing his big extension with the Vikings, he was second on the team with 83 catches in 2016.

WR: Stefon Diggs: He caught 84 passes a year ago, and if he can avoid nagging injuries this fall, he could put himself in position for a big contract before he hits free agency in 2019.

WR: Laquon Treadwell: He's here for now after a disappointing rookie season, but he'll have competition from slot receivers such as rookies Rodney Adams and Stacy Coley, as well as Michael Floyd, once his suspension is over.


DE: Everson Griffen: After two Pro Bowls and three impressive seasons, he has proven his worth after signing a five-year, $42.5 million deal in 2014.

DT: Linval Joseph: He has become one of the best run stoppers in the league, and had four sacks early last season, but Mike Zimmer thinks Joseph can be even better as a pass-rusher.

DT: Datone Jones: This could be a group effort, depending on Sharrif Floyd's health, Tom Johnson's fitness at age 33 and Jaleel Johnson's ability to contribute as a rookie.

DE: Danielle Hunter: The Vikings will give Hunter a big chunk of the playing time after a 12½-sack season; Brian Robison is back at age 34, but it could be time for Hunter to ascend as the starter.

LB: Kentrell Brothers: The second-year linebacker, who stood out on special teams last year, will battle Emmanuel Lamur, Edmond Robinson and Ben Gedeon for a role in the base defense after Chad Greenway's retirement.

MLB: Eric Kendricks: He was a Pro Bowl snub after an impressive second season that featured 109 combined tackles, 2½ sacks and a 77-yard interception return for a touchdown.

LB: Anthony Barr: It's a critical year for the ninth pick in 2014. The Vikings picked up his fifth-year option, but he'll have to be more consistent if he wants to return at the $12.3 million figure.

CB: Xavier Rhodes: He's the next Vikings defender in line for a major payday after a five-interception season took him to his first Pro Bowl.

FS: Harrison Smith: At age 28, he's in the prime of a stellar career. He has been to two Pro Bowls, returned four of his 12 career interceptions for TDs and posted 7½ sacks.

SS: Andrew Sendejo: The Vikings haven't found a reliable young option here, so it's another year with the steady, if unspectacular Sendejo, who turns 30 just before the start of the season.

CB: Trae Waynes: Can he take the starting job from 39-year-old Terence Newman? The 11th overall pick in the 2015 draft will need to prove himself this year, with a decision on his fifth-year option looming next spring.


K: Kai Forbath: Signed last year to replace Blair Walsh, he'll get competition from Marshall Koehn, and will need to have a solid showing in training camp and the preseason.

P: Ryan Quigley: Taylor Symmank flashed a big leg during the Vikings' rookie camp last week, and could push the former Jets and Cardinals punter for the right to succeed Jeff Locke.

KR: Rodney Adams: The rookie will get a chance to replace Cordarrelle Patterson after his departure in free agency. Adams had a 24.8 yard return average and one kick return TD at South Florida.

PR: Marcus Sherels: The former undrafted free agent just keeps going. He turns 30 in September, and is preparing for his eighth NFL season after leading the league with two punt return TDs last year.