The Vikings have reduced their roster down to 53 men, and the roster contains few surprises. Although the choice of strong-armed prospect McLeod Bethel-Thompson over journeyman Sage Rosenfels did raise eyebrows amongst close observers, as did cutting former Raven Chris Carr.
By most accounts, Rosenfels had a solid, if somewhat consistent offseason. However, it was Bethel-Thompsons, strong arm that encouraged the Vikings choose the 23-year-old former Sacramento State quarterback.
While he's had decisionmaking issues, along with issues putting the right amount of force on the ball, his ability to thread the ball into tight passing windows has led the Vikings to try and develop the raw quarterback.
Chris Carr, on the other hand, had a fairly abysmal offseason. While he has been excellent at picking up the system and teaching it to others, he had problems executing it. He was often found tailing receivers and letting quarterbacks make their completion. An early favorite to take the third cornerback spot behind Antoine Winfield and Chris Cook, his poor play earned him the ire of Vikings fans.
A pleasant surprise to fans who were paying attention to the preseason games was the addition of fullback/halfback Matt Asiata, who averaged 5.8 yards a carry over four preseason games. Jordan Todman looked to challenge Asiata's spot on the roster with an electric run in the fourth game, but Asiata's consistency and versatility won him the spot.
Todman missed the previous three games due to an ankle injury.
One of the more intriguing battles was at wide receiver, and there are indications the Vikings may not be done here, with a number of promising wide receivers hitting the waiver wire across the country.
Aromashodu has been criticized for his poor play in the past, but he played well in his final preseason game for the Vikings, earning the fifth spot over former Canadian Football League standout Emmanuel Arceneaux, who was cut. He, Stephen Burton and Michael Jenkins were all potential roster casualties as the Vikings cut the list down to 53, and there may be more movement here yet.
Jerome Simpson is suspended for three games and will not count against the 53 person limit until he arrives. Another cut will be in order after Week 3.
The only Vikings 2012 draft pick to be cut was defensive end Trevor Guyton, who rotated in as a defensive tackle on most plays. While he showed skill at either position, he was a victim of the Vikings' excellent depth on the defensive line and may end up on the practice squad or with another team.
At linebacker, a position of real concern for Minnesota, the Vikings elected to keep seven instead of the usual six on the roster. Phenomenal preseason play earned Audie Cole a spot as the team's third linebacker, while solid special teams play gave Larry Dean, Marvin Mitchell and Tyrone McKenzie their spots on the roster.
Aside from Carr, there were no big surprises with the Vikings' secondary, except potentially the decision to keep six on the roster along with five safeties. Cuts n the offensive and defensive line gave them this flexibility, and the only disappointment might be the absence of Reggie Jones, who briefly became a fan favorite after a strong offseason but quiet preseason.
Andrew Sendejo's addition was a minor surprise as well, and he replaces a struggling Eric Frampton, who does well on special teams but struggles as a safety.
Frampton did not play a down at safety during 2011, a year notable for the number of injuries and absences that struck the Vikings in the secondary.
The Vikings roster below, and an unofficial depth chart:
Quarterback: Christian Ponder, Joe Webb, McLeod Bethel-Thompson
Running Back: Adrian Peterson, Toby Gerhart, Matt Asiata
Fullback: Jerome Felton
Wide Receiver - Flanker: Percy Harvin, Stephen Burton, Jarius Wright
Wide Receiver - Split End: (Jerome Simpson), Michael Jenkins, Devin Aromashodu
Tight End: Kyle Rudolph, John Carlson, Rhett Ellison, Allen Reisner
Left Tackle: Matt Kalil
Left Guard: Charlie Johnson
Center: John Sullivan, Joe Berger
Right Guard: Brandon Fusco, Geoff Schwartz
Right Tackle: Phil Loadholt, Pat Brown
Left Defensive End: Brian Robison, D'Aundre Reed
Under Tackle Kevin Williams, Christian Ballard
Nose Tackle: Letroy Guion, Fred Evans
Right Defensive End: Jared Allen, Everson Griffen
Strongside Linebacker: Chad Greenway, Larry Dean
Middle Linebacker: Jasper Brinkley, Tyrone McKenzie, Audie Cole
Weakside Linebacker: Erin Henderson, Marvin Mitchell
Left Cornerback: Antoine Winfield, Brandon Burton, Marcus Sherels
Right Cornerback: Chris Cook, Josh Robinson, Zack Bowman
Strong Safety: Harrison Smith, Jamarca Sanford, Andrew Sendejo
Free Safety: Mistral Raymond, Robert Blanton
Punter: Chris Kluwe
Kicker: Blair Walsh
Long Snapper: Cullen Loeffler