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Vikings Release Week 1 Unofficial Depth Chart

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings have released their unofficial depth chart ahead of the season opener against the Bengals.

Minnesota kicks off its 2021 season at noon (CT) Sunday in Cincinnati.

For reference, the Vikings offense is listed in "21 personnel" with two backs (a running back and fullback) and a tight end. That leaves two spots at receiver, along with a quarterback and the offensive line.

The Vikings defense, meanwhile, features starters in a base 4-3 scheme, which includes four linemen, three linebackers, two cornerbacks and two safeties.

Here's a look at the Vikings unofficial depth chart with starters followed by backups listed in order as they appear.

OFFENSE (23 players)

Quarterback

Starter: Kirk Cousins

Backup: Kellen Mond

Running back

Starter: Dalvin Cook

Backup: Alexander Mattison

Fullback

Starter: C.J. Ham

Wide receiver

Starters: Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson

Backups: 2. K.J. Osborn and Ihmir Smith-Marsette; 3. Dede Westbrook

View photos of the Vikings 53-man roster as of Sept. 13, 2021.

Tight end

Starter: Tyler Conklin

Backups: 2. Brandon Dillon; 3. Chris Herndon; 4. Ben Ellefson

Tackles

Starters: Rashod Hill (LT) and Brian O'Neill (RT)

Backups: Christian Darrisaw (LT) and Blake Brandel (RT)

Interior offensive linemen

Starters: Ezra Cleveland (LG), Garrett Bradbury (C) and Olisaemeka Udoh (RG)

Backups: Mason Cole (C) and Wyatt Davis (RG)

Roster notes: The Vikings are led by big-name skill players in Cook, Jefferson and Thielen. Cousins is entrenched as the starter, with Mond as the only other quarterback on the 53-man roster. And the offensive line has been set for weeks, with that group being young but having plenty of potential. The biggest change here is that Conklin now has a starting spot with Irv Smith, Jr., expected to miss most or all of the season. Herndon was recently acquired in a trade with the Jets, while Ellefson was claimed off waivers last week.

DEFENSE (27 players)

Defensive end

Starters: Danielle Hunter (LDE) and D.J. Wonnum (RDE)

Backups: 2. Stephen Weatherly (LE), Everson Griffen (RE); 3. Patrick Jones II (RE)

Defensive tackle

Starters: Michael Pierce (NT) and Dalvin Tomlinson (DT)

Backups: 2. Armon Watts (NT), Sheldon Richardson (DT); 3. James Lynch (NT)

Linebacker

Starters: Anthony Barr (SLB), Eric Kendricks (MLB) and Nick Vigil (WLB)

Backups: 2. Blake Lynch (SLB), Troy Dye (MLB), Chazz Surratt (WLB); 3. Ryan Connelly (SLB)

Cornerback

Starters: Patrick Peterson and Bashaud Breeland

Backups: 2. Mackensie Alexander and Kris Boyd; 3. Harrison Hand and Cameron Dantzler

Safety

Starters: Harrison Smith and Xavier Woods

Backups: Josh Metellus and Camryn Bynum

Roster notes: Wonnum is listed as the starter over Weatherly after the two battled for the starting gig opposite Hunter in training camp and the preseason. The Vikings have ample depth at that spot with the recent addition of Griffen. The starters at defensive tackles and linebackers remain unchanged, but Barr's health bears watching this week. He hasn't practiced since Aug. 6 because of an undisclosed injury. The four starters in the secondary are all veterans, as is Alexander, who will slot in at nickel cornerback. Dantzler is now listed behind Boyd on the depth chart, in part because the 2020 third-round pick had an up-and-down preseason.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kicker

Greg Joseph

Punter/holder

Jordan Berry

Long snapper

Andrew DePaola

Kick returner

1. Smith-Marsette

2. Osborn

Punt returner

1. Osborn

2. Westbrook; 3. Smith-Marsette

Roster notes: Berry is the freshest face among the specialists, as the Australian-born punter recently joined the team after spending the past six seasons in Pittsburgh. Joseph and DePaola make up the rest of Minnesota's special teams battery. Smith-Marsette appears to be the Week 1 kick returner after drawing praise for his burst and ability in the preseason. Osborn is listed ahead of Westbrook as the punt returner. He will be looking to improve on a rookie season where he averaged just 3.9 yards per punt return. It's worth noting that rookie Kene Nwangwu, who was in the mix for the kick returner job, is on Injured Reserve and can return as soon as Week 4.

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