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Who's in, who's out: BMTN makes a final Vikings roster prediction

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The decisions facing Vikings general manager Rick Spielman, head coach Mike Zimmer and the top assistants aren't easy ones.

The Vikings just completed their first undefeated preseason since 2001. Now the team has to decide which of those players who helped them to preseason success can help them on Sunday afternoons during the regular season.

By 3 p.m. Saturday the Vikings have to trim their roster from 75 down to 53. To do that, there are some tough decisions to be made.

"It's really hard because every one of these guys has done everything we've asked them to do," Zimmer told the Pioneer Press. "Coming in as a new organization, part of the way we've done things has been such a change, so I have a fondness in my heart for all of these guys. I think they've gotten better each week, and this (last cut) is probably particularly hard."

With that in mind, here is what we think will happen when the Vikings reduce their roster to 53.

Quarterback (3)

  • Matt Cassel
  • Teddy Bridgewater
  • Christian Ponder

Analysis: Vikings' offensive coordinator Norv Turner was in Cleveland last year and was forced to start all three quarterbacks on his roster. In three of the last five seasons the Vikings themselves have been forced to use three different quarterbacks – 2010, 2011 and 2013 – having someone who has won games in the NFL in that position could be valuable if the Vikings are forced into that spot again.

Running back (4)

  • Adrian Peterson
  • Matt Asiata
  • Jerick McKinnon
  • Jerome Felton

Analysis: Joe Banyard is a tough cut here, especially after rushing for 111 yards in the Vikings 19-3 victory on Thursday night. But KFAN's Paul Allen says Banyard did most of his damage against second and third-team guys, while Asiata had two big games last season and has held his own in the league.

Wide receivers (5)

  • Cordarrelle Patterson
  • Greg Jennings
  • Jerome Simpson
  • Jarious Wright
  • Adam Thielen
  • Rodney Smith

Analysis: Before you say we forgot how to count, the NFL upheld Simpson's suspension and he does not count against the Vikings 53 man roster because he will miss the first three games. If anything crazy happens, it's likely to be at the receiver spot. Once Simpson returns from the suspension it's possible any of those final four receivers could get cut, or as FOX Sports Net's Brian Hall points out the Vikings could keep six and cut from another spot. Also, after Kain Coulter clears waivers it is possible he could be signed to the practice squad as a developmental project.

Tight End (3)

  • Kyle Rudolph
  • Rhett Ellison
  • Chase Ford

Analysis: Allen Reisner isn't an easy cut here, he had four touchdown catches in the preseason and played well, while Ford sat out with a foot injury. Unless the Vikings are worried about Ford's health, the promise he showed last year outweighs Reisner's preseason production.

Offensive Line (9)

  • Matt Kalil
  • Charlie Johnson
  • John Sullivan
  • Brandon Fusco
  • Phil Loadholt
  • David Yankey
  • Joe Berger
  • Austin Wentworth
  • Antonio Richardson

AnalysisNothing too crazy here, the entire starting five returns from last season, Yankey could push to play at left guard if Johnson struggles some, Berger is the backup center and Wentworth is a flexible offensive lineman who could backup at either tackle and even play guard.

Defensive Line (9)

  • Everson Griffen
  • Brian Robison
  • Linval Joseph
  • Sharif Floyd
  • Corey Wooton
  • Fred Evans
  • Tom Johnson
  • Scott Crichton
  • Shamar Stephen

AnalysisThere are quite a few new faces in this group, but it appears to be a talented group. Shamar Stephen is rewarded for an outstanding training camp and preseason by making the final roster.

Linebacker (6)

  • Chad Greenway
  • Anthony Barr
  • Jasper Brinkley
  • Audie Cole
  • Gerald Hodges
  • Brandon Watts

AnalysisThere are some tough cuts here particularly Larry Dean who has been a special teams standout for years.

Safeties (5)

  • Harrison Smith
  • Robert Blanton
  • Chris Crocker
  • Kurt Coleman
  • Andrew Sendejo

AnalysisThe most unpredictable position on the team. Crocker could start or he could be released. Signs point to Jamarca Sanford not making the squad along with sixth-round draft pick Antone Exum. If Exum clears waivers he will also very likely be on the Vikings' practice squad.

Cornerback (6)

  • Captain Munnerlyn
  • Xavier Rhodes
  • Josh Robinson
  • Shaun Prater
  • Marcus Sherels
  • Jabari Price

AnalysisPrice won't be allowed to hit waivers and Sherels is the team's top punt returner, while Thielen may press him for the job at some point, Sherels has been a tireless worker and has carved a niche for himself as one of the top punt returners in the league

Specialists (3)

  • Blair Walsh
  • Jeff Locke
  • Cullen Loeffler

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