The Minnesota Vikings have released their first depth chart. Admittedly, depth charts don’t mean too much. Nevertheless, there are some interesting insights.
K.J. Osborn appears to have the upper-hand in both returner competitions. Mike Zimmer suggested during training camp that one of their concerns about Osborn was that he’d only contribute on five or six plays. If he is both the punt and kickoff returner, Osborn has the potential to contribute on more than just five or six plays.
Justin Jefferson is still a backup. The Vikings listed Adam Thielen and Bisi Johnson as their starters, and the next name on the list is Jefferson. The Vikings don’t use 11-personnel as much as other NFL teams, but there should still be plenty of opportunity for Jefferson to get onto the field, especially if he’s of lining up along the outside.
The Dozier/Elflein guard combo is concerning. The key is really going to rest in how well Gary Kubiak can protect the linemen with his play calls and how well Kirk Cousins does. A big step forward from Garrett Bradbury wouldn’t hurt.
The Vikings have taken a strength in numbers approach for the d-line. DT is one of the weakest positions on their roster. They really only have three true interior d-linemen on the roster. Hercules Mata’afa is built more like a DE than a tackle. If Shamar Stephen, Jaleel Johnson, or Armon Watts struggle, the Vikings will be in trouble (Damon Harrison is still available).
Finally, the Vikings are rolling into the Green Bay game with only two safeties. Of course, Rick Spielman could add someone at any point, and there are multiple safeties on the practice squad. As it stands, though, a backup corner would need to slide over to safety if there was an injury to one of our two starters.