Minnesota Vikings News Roundup: The Starting Lineup Begins to Take Shape

The keyword in that title is begins. We’re a long way from knowing the full Minnesota Vikings starting lineup, but the early moments of training camp have offered a few hints. Fans and writers have been fascinated by the unexpected and expected battles, especially those occurring along the offensive line, at kicker, and WR. We therefore spend the opening moments of the roundup discussing what we’ve learned. From there, we pivot into some more discussion of the finances and roster before ending things with the internet’s purple chatter.

Surprise Contenders for the Minnesota Vikings Starting Lineup

As we said at the top, things are still really early, so don’t read too much into what’s currently going on. With that small caution, let’s press into the few tidbits we’ve been able to get from training camp so far.

Everyone’s greatest worry is the offensive line, and for good reason. As a fan base, we’ve been subjected to more than our fair share of lousy linemen. It’s not uncommon to see our relatively unathletic starting QB get demolished by several burly defenders (though I hasten to add that he’s more athletic than people give him credit for).

Perhaps the most exciting detail to emerge from camp is that Oli Udoh is getting an opportunity to show what he can do at RG. He has been getting reps with the 1s. Now, we’ve previously noted that this may be for the team to get a fuller assessment of their third-year, late-round swing tackle before deciding whether to include him on the final roster. It may also be indicative of their desire to actually give him a chance to start at RG. Otherwise, fans can expect to see Mason Cole, Dakota Dozier, and Wyatt Davis competing for the RG spot. Personally, I’m pulling for Udoh but expecting Dozier.

Dede Westbrook has been getting some hype. Here is what Zim had to say: “I watched Dede work out the other day and, man, he caught everything. It was very, very impressive.” Zim also noted that “he’s a big-speed guy who has been a good returner. We’ll see how it all shakes out.” Indeed, time will tell. I don’t have a ton of confidence in Westbrook simply because Minnesota doesn’t do a good job with their FA receivers. Alas, Westbrook will hopefully be the exception to the rule. I’m hoping for Westbrook but expecting Bisi.

Otherwise, there have been encouraging reports about Justin Jefferson, K.J. Osborn, Greg Joseph, and Irv Smith Jr. Take a look at Jefferson getting the best of Cameron Dantzler:

I’ll admit that, at times, seeing plays like this feels like a no-win scenario. Sure, Jefferson was awesome, but Dantzler struggled. The upside is that it’s still only the early moments of training camp. It’s also really encouraging to see reports of Patrick Peterson offering advice to the young corners. Peterson will offer value to our Minnesota Vikings both by being one of the corners in the starting lineup and by mentoring the young talent.

Has Minnesota Finished Adding to Their Roster?

This section is inspired by Sean Borman’s – a one-time guest on Notes from the Northrecent mailbag for Vikings Territory. Borman’s piece covers a variety of topics, most of them financial (including one from yours truly).

Now, one of the topics that many fans keep coming back to is how Minnesota may still add to their roster, perhaps signing a player who could even work their way into the Vikings’ starting lineup. We could certainly use another pass rusher or guard.

Many fans were hoping for Justin Houston, but he’s now terrorizing QBs in the AFC North. Of course, there have been some Chandler Jones rumblings, and there’s always the possibility that Slick Rick does something that is, well, slick. The financial hurdles would be significant, though not impossible, especially since a Harrison Smith and Brian O’Neill extension could open up a fair amount of money. Jones is a remarkably powerful edge rusher, one who would instantly form a nearly unblockable pair with Danielle Hunter.

I don’t think the chances of us working a trade for Jones are very high. If it happened, though, I’d be incredibly excited. Minnesota has a little more than $13 million in cap space; Jones’s contract currently sits around $20 million. A couple extensions and Minnesota would have the necessary money.

A fan can dream.

TVG and Broader Purple Chatter

Lots of good stuff out on TVG this week. Ali Siddiqui offered up his first edition of “Ali’s Mailbag,” a series we’re hoping will take off as Ali answers all of your Vikings questions, queries, and concerns. Cole gave us another great Hall of Fame article; this one covers Randall McDaniel. I published a piece trying to slow the Dede Westbrook hype, one breaking down the B/W Case for the fourth rounders, some speculation on how Minnesota will use their small mountain of money (see above), and some prognosticating on the linebacker position. Sam even offered listeners what they’ve all been asking for: a solo episode where he focuses primarily on the Wild.

The purple chatter around the internet is heating up, especially with all the Minnesota Vikings starting lineup speculation intensifying. There was some speculation over at Vikings Territory that Minnesota may be approaching “Super Team” status. There’s been some excellent analysis of the Minnesota Vikings’ roster and potential starting lineup over at Purple Pain Forums as training camp has gotten going. Drew, Ted, and Toonces continue their rise because of their really unique Vikings content on YouTube.

The Send Off

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Skol.