There is a lot to sort through for the Minnesota Vikings before the new season begins. Where does their roster need the most work?
Quarterback: Matt Cassel vs. Teddy Bridgewater vs. Christian Ponder
It really has developed into a wide open race at quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings defense. Such things happen when a new coaching staff takes over. There are few doubts that 1st round pick Teddy Bridgewater will eventually be the man. However, in the early running he is in a fight with veterans Matt Cassel and Christian Ponder for first team reps during practice. It really is anybody’s guess who has the lead at this point. That decision will fall to new offensive coordinator Norv Turner in the coming months.
Backup RB: Matt Asiata vs. Jerick McKinnon
Adrian Peterson was and remains the go-to guy for the Vikings offense but the loss of Toby Gerhart, while expected, was tough to swallow for the team. It leaves a hole at backup running back and there really is no clear replacement for him. Third-stringer Matt Asiata flashed some potential last season and is in the mix while third round pick Jerick McKinnon, an athletic freak who blew up the scouting combine, has a lot of buzz around him heading into camp. His speed and game-breaking ability would compliment Peterson quite well.
Guard: Charlie Johnson vs. David Yankey
For the most part the offensive line is relatively stable for the Minnesota Vikings but they could have a competition brewing at the guard position. Charlie Johnson can be considered the weak link of the ground at left guard and his main threat comes from 5th round draft pick David Yankey. The Stanford All-American has the tools from size to strength and footwork. He also brings leadership and versatility, having played tackle for the Cardinal as well. If Johnson isn’t on his toes from the get go, Yankey could swipe the job right out from under him.
Defensive End: Everson Griffen vs. Scott Crichton
On paper this might not look like a real roster battle at first but new head coach Mike Zimmer never made any promises to certain players when he took over. Everson Griffen was given a big, new contract to stay in Minnesota following the departure of Jared Allen. Most would expect him to take over the starting job at right end. That doesn’t mean he won’t have to fight for it. The Vikings were sure to add some heat when they took Oregon State defensive end Scott Crichton in the 3rd round. He isn’t the greatest athlete but the young man is relentless, powerful and gets after the quarterback. If Griffen can’t handle starter reps, the rookie has a shot to bypass Brian Robison on the left side to seize Allen’s old spot.