The Vikings cut their roster down to 53 players on Saturday as Week 1 of the regular season fast approaches. The roster is full of a bunch of the usual suspects, but there are also many new faces on this year’s team. Here’s a quick look at each of the new Vikings on this year’s roster.
OL Jeff Baca – A 6th-round pick this year who will provide depth along the interior line, including at center if needed.
LB Desmond Bishop – Former Packer who was released late this offseason and signed by Vikings. He’s been running with the 2nd team all of camp and preseason, but don’t be surprised if he’s named a starter at outside LB soon.
QB Matt Cassel – Solid veteran passer who will be Christian Ponder’s backup in 2013. Was Tom Brady’s backup in New England and went on to become a 2010 Pro Bowler in Kansas City.
DT Sharrif Floyd – The Vikings top pick (No. 23) this past April, Floyd has impressed every step of the way and was disruptive in the first two preseason games before a knee injury kept him from playing in the final two exhibitions. He’ll be relied upon while Kevin Williams is out with a knee injury early in the season.
LB Gerald Hodges – A 4th-round pick this past April, Hodges is physical and tough but still has a lot to learn about playing in the NFL. That’s to be expected at this stage, and perhaps he can contribute on special teams while he learns the defense.
WR Greg Jennings – A prized offseason acquisition, Jennings catches everything that’s thrown near him and will be a reliable and productive option in the passing game, particularly on 3rd downs.
FB Zach Line – His 61-yard TD against Houston in the preseason premier opened a lot of people’s eyes, but Line has been a standout performer all of camp and he’s been rewarded with a roster spot. Tough, hard-nosed, can block, can catch and can move with the ball in his hands.
P Jeff Locke - Blair Walsh stepped in as a rookie kicker and may now be the best player at his position in the NFL. Can the Vikings realize similar success with this rookie punter? Only time will tell, but so far so good for Locke.
LB Mike Mauti – A 7th-rounder who was Big 10 LB of the year a season ago, Mauti is recovering from his third severe knee injury. So far he’s recovered well enough to make a NFL roster. How much further can he go?
WR Cordarrelle Patterson – “Flashy” is just that, very flashy. He will be an explosive game-changer as a returner and also looks to be further ahead in his development as a NFL WR than most thought he’d be at this point. Patterson is a huge reason for optimism on this roster.
CB Xavier Rhodes – An injury and some rookie moments might have caused some to pause on their enthusiasm for Rhodes, but not me. This guy will make a defense from Week 1 for the Vikings. He’s big, physical and fast, and will allow the Vikings to get creative on defense.