Skip to main content

The Vikings' roster is a house of cards in danger of collapse

With roster cuts looming, the Vikings need to address their depth.
DJ Wonnum

"I've been very cautious about playing some of our guys because of injuries," said Vikings coach Mike Zimmer after the preseason final loss to the Chiefs. "If the wrong guys get hurt, we're going to struggle in a lot of ways."

That's all anyone needs to see to understand how thin the Vikings are at numerous positions. It's why all eyes should be on free agency once NFL teams trim rosters to 53 players by Tuesday afternoon, resulting in roughly 800 players entering the open market. 

When Zimmer met with reporters after last season, he praised the offense for finishing fourth in total yards but failed to see its flaws. 

Instead of going into free agency to add depth, the Vikings opted to go on a $45 million shopping spree to fix the starting defense. Nobody is going to argue that the defense needed an overhaul after finishing 28th in yards allowed and 30th in points allowed, but the depth behind starters is very weak. 

The result is a house of cards on offense and defense that could tumble with any significant injury. This is a big issue with the normal risk of injury combined with the Vikings reportedly being the least vaccinated team in the league.

If Kirk Cousins is injured the season is over. Jake Browning and Kellen Mond clearly aren't ready to play against NFL defenses. If Jefferson or Thielen goes down it'll put a ton of pressure on K.J. Osborne and Dede Westbrook to fill the void, which they are unlikely to do at a high level. 

If Danielle Hunter is injured, good luck with the defense ends behind him. D.J. Wonnum and Everson Griffen are decent, but nowhere near the all-world pass rusher Hunter is. You can put a cork in the season is Eric Kendricks gets hurt because the linebacker depth is frighteningly shallow. 

In 2017, the Vikings walked a similar tight-rope with weak overall depth but they stayed healthy enough to rally behind Case Keenum all the way to the conference championship game. But walking the tight-rope again is a dangerous idea. 

In training camp alone, the Vikings saw Jefferson sprain his shoulder, Thielen bruise his thigh and Anthony Barr go down with an undisclosed injury. Things got worse when Irv Smith Jr. suffered a meniscus injury in Friday's preseason finale, not to mention first-round pick, left tackle Christian Darrisaw, has been plagued by injuries. 

General Manager Rick Spielman and Zimmer are going to have to sift through the masses in free agency for potential upgrades and more reliable depth, but adding new players this close to the season presents new challenges, namely newcomers needing a crash course to ace the playbook. 

All of these variables come in a season where Zimmer and Spielman may have their jobs on the line. If they believe they can compete in 2021, they need to find a way to beef up the roster, and this will be the week to find some diamonds in the rough. 

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-05-24 at 5.21.04 PM

Ex-South St. Paul coach dies by suicide 2 days before sentencing

Matthew McCollister was to be sentenced for fraud in federal court on Wednesday.


Minnesota 'glampground' named one of 10 best in U.S.

In Nevis, Minnesota, campers can stay in a refurbished 1905 train car.

Screen Shot 2022-01-28 at 9.04.12 AM

Two men charged over terrifying armed robbery at Newport apartment

They shot the woman who lives in the apartment in the abdomen, and put a gun to a man's head.

Minneapolis police

Minneapolis 2-year-old identified in suspicious death case

The cause of death has not yet been revealed due to an ongoing investigation.

Arianna Vos

Victim of wrong-way driver crash ID'd as Hutchinson 19-year-old

Three women, ages 19, 20 and 20, were in the vehicle struck by a wrong-way driver early Sunday morning.

Julissa Thaler

Eli Hart killing: Police investigating multiple crime scenes

An announcement Tuesday confirmed potential crime scenes in Mound and Minnetrista.

SEIU Healthcare Minnesota strike.

Twin Cities mental health workers gather for 1-day strike

More than 400 mental health workers are participating in the unionized strike on Tuesday.

Bloomington Fire

HAZMAT team at Bloomington hotel following chemical spill in pool

The fire department said two hotel employees are being evaluated by paramedics.

Screen Shot 2022-03-24 at 9.21.32 AM

Big Brothers Big Sisters Twin Cities gets $6M of Mackenzie Scott donation

The donation is the largest the organization has ever seen from a single individual.

Hennepin Avenue S.

Minneapolis accused of backtracking on 24/7 bus lanes for Hennepin Ave.

The Minneapolis City Council is set to vote on Thursday.

Pexels - face mask covid holding

Duluth brings back masking in city buildings amid COVID surge

Duluth, in one of the state's current COVID hotspots, has brought back a mask requirement in city buildings.


Oli Udoh

Vikings-Cardinals: 5 things you can count on happening

The Vikings need a win in the desert but will they get one on Sunday?

Dalvin Cook

Vikings vs. Chargers: 5 things you can count on

Will the Vikings melt down in Los Angeles?

Anthony Barr

5 takeaways from the Vikings preseason loss to the Colts

The Vikings looked better on Saturday but still have a ways to go.

Kirk Cousins

5 questions for the Vikings' season opener at Cincinnati

The Vikings will look to start 2021 with a victory on Sunday.

Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen

With Patrick Peterson injured, Vikings need to unleash the offense

Peterson's absence could have a bigger effect on the opposite side of the ball.

Mike Zimmer

5 questions for season finale between Vikings and Lions

With the energy of a third preseason game, the Vikings will close out the season in Detroit.