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Lunchbreak: ESPN Offers Early Predictions on Vikings Roster

The Vikings currently have 90 players on their roster and three-plus months before they’ll have to determine the final 53–man roster.

ESPN’s Courtney Cronin took an early look at Minnesota’s roster and broke down an unofficial depth chart which, she ascertained, “aims to provide an idea of what positions will feature the most competition and the players on the verge of making the team.” She noted that “not all undrafted college free agents and tryout players” were accounted for her in her list.

Cronin had some interesting takeaways from Minnesota’s offensive situation.

At the running back spot, Cronin listed Dalvin Cook as the team’s starter, followed by Latavius Murray, Mack Brown and undrafted free agent signees Roc Thomas and Mike Boone. She wrote:

Cook will again be the featured back coming off a rookie season cut short by an ACL injury. Minnesota will monitor his workload, which is why also having Murray in the backfield provides a solid one-two punch. The Vikings didn’t find a No. 3 running back in the draft and will look to Brown, Thomas and Boone (both college free agents) to grab hold of the role left vacant by Jerick McKinnon.

At wide receiver, Cronin said that “aside from one of the NFL’s best wideout duos” in Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, there will be competition for the other spots. She opined that Kendall Wright and Laquon Treadwell will compete for the third receiver spot and that “others will aim to carve out a role for themselves in a crowded group.”

Cronin said the offensive line depth chart gets “tricky” at tackle and that the biggest question on offense is “on the interior of the O-line.” At guard, she expects Nick Easton to again start at left guard, and said it will be interesting to see how the Vikings replace retired Joe Berger at right guard. Danny Isidora, Tom Compton, Colby Gossett and Josh Andrews are options.

The biggest question mark on offense remains on the interior of the O-line. Easton, who is coming off season-ending ankle surgery, is the starting left guard, but who will start at right guard is the million-dollar question.

To see the rest of Cronin’s thoughts on the Vikings offense and how she tackled the defense, click here.

Holler: Potential adjustment to kickoffs could impact Vikings

As discussions around various NFL rules continue, one area that could see additional changes is the kickoff.

John Holler of *Viking Update *reminded readers that the NFL “has been tinkering with special teams for years” and has made changes to the spot of the kickoff – from the 40-yard line to the 35 (1974-93) to the 30 (1994-2010) – and moved the kickoff line forward again to the 35-yard line. Another recent change included moving the snap for extra points from the 2-yard line to the 15. Holler explained the current change proposal:

The latest decision to be made by NFL owners will be attempting to reduce the [number] of injuries on kickoffs. The rules changes being proposed have multiple potential consequences associated with them. Among them are eliminating the two-man wedge, requiring that at least eight players from the receiving team be within 15 yards of the kickoff line to more replicate the type of side-by-side running done on punt coverage and eliminate the running start for the kicking team.

Holler said that the Vikings have had success with kickoff returning, specifically with former returners Percy Harvin and Cordarrelle Patterson, and that a change to the special teams phase could have a bigger influence for Minnesota than on other teams.

Whatever the Vikings have been doing on kick returns —blending talent and blocking schemes — they're doing it right … and have been for the better part of the last decade.

If the kickoff rules remain largely intact, [Vikings Special Teams Coordinator] Mike Priefer has big plans for Mike Hughes to continue that legacy.

If, at some point soon, the NFL adopts a no-fly zone for kickoffs, it will be a fundamental change to the game, one that may potentially impact the Vikings as much or more than any team in the league given their commitment to big plays from that scenario.

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Vikings fan ‘The Mountain’ wins World’s Strongest Man title

Thor Bjornsson has come in second in the World’s Strongest Man competition two years in a row, but that changed for the adopted Vikings fan over the weekend.

Bjornsson, who plays “The Mountain” on *Game of Thrones, *was crowned the world’s strongest man on Sunday. Des Bieler of *The Washington Post *wrote about the victory:

Per reports, Bjornsson finished first in three of the six events that made up the two-day finals in the Philippines: the vehicle dead lift, max overhead and loading race. He came in fourth in the frame carry, second in the truck pull and, after building a near-insurmountable lead heading into the final event, fifth in the atlas stones.

Bjornsson first met three Vikings players – Linval Joseph, Kyle Rudolph and Danielle Hunter – when members of the organization spent time in Iceland exploring Viking heritage. Bjornsson, who helped the Vikings with their SKOL Chant video that debuted during the 2016 season, visited Minnesota last year* *to meet other players and then made an appearance at U.S. Bank Stadium for the Packers game.

Bjornsson posted about the title on his personal Instagram page:

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