(Unofficial) Depth Chart: Guideline More Than Rule

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 4, 2012 – 9:51 pm

When the teacher issues a seating chart in the classroom, the rules are hard and fast. The spot in which you sit is clearly defined with no room for interpretation and no chance for change based on performance. When it comes to depth charts in the NFL, however, the lines are blurred and the chart is more of a guideline than a set of rules.

But even with that being the case, it’s always fun to take a look and see how things are stacked up. It’s an especially relevant exercise now because training camp and the preseason – the time when depth charts change rapidly – have given way to the regular season – the time when depth charts change less frequently.

Let’s take a look at the Vikings unofficial depth chart heading into the season-opener…

No surprises
The spots at quarterback, offensive line and tight end contain no surprises. Joe Webb is listed as the backup to Christian Ponder, with McLeod Bethel-Thompson listed third. The five starters along the offensive line are the same five who’ve been starting all training camp and preseason, with Joe Berger listed as the backup center and Geoff Schwartz listed as the backup right guard.

At tight end, second-year player Kyle Rudolph is the starter, with John Carlson, Rhett Ellison and Allen Reisner listed behind him.

Early receiver rotation
With Jerome Simpson suspended for the first three games, don’t be surprised to see the Vikings use a healthy rotation at wide receiver early in the season. Rather than lean heavily on one particular player among Devin Aromashodu, Stephen Burton and Michael Jenkins to try and replace Simpson, the Vikings could ask all three of them to contribute in some way. Jenkins is listed as the starter at the X position for now and Percy Harvin is of course #1 at Z position, but I expect Aromashodu and Burton to get their chances.

For the record, Burton is listed as the #2 at Z and rookie Jarius Wright is #3. But don’t read too much into any of the positioning at receiver because there could be an “all hands on deck” mentality until Simpson returns in Week 4.

Speaking of rotations…
There could also be a rotation at the Vikings defensive tackle position. Kevin Williams is solid as the #1 under-tackle and Christian Ballard is listed as his backup, but at nose tackle Letroy Guion is trying to recover from a knee injury. That means Fred Evans, who started the Vikings final two preseason games, will be on call to start should Guion be unable to play in Week 1, and regardless of starting status he’ll be relied upon to take plenty of reps.

It all sounds a bit murky right now, but the good news is Vikings defensive line coach Brendan Daly has good depth up and down the line to A) keep legs fresh during the entire game and B) survive the absence of Guion for however long he needs to be out.

Backup ‘Backers
Jasper Brinkley is the man in the middle at linebacker and he’ll be flanked by Chad Greenway (SLB) and Erin Henderson (WLB) on either side. Rookie Audie Cole, a preseason star for the Vikings, is listed as the backup to Brinkley, while free agent acquisition Marvin Mitchell is behind Henderson and an undrafted rookie free agent find from last year – Larry Dean – will play behind Greenway.

Safety in numbers
The Vikings prioritized improving their pass defense this past offseason, and you can tell that was a priority based on how they addressed both cornerback and safety in the draft and via other methods. First-round pick Harrison Smith and second-year player Mistral Raymond are listed as starters, although Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier would not commit to a starter in Raymond’s spot when asked about it on Monday. That will likely be a fluid situation for now, especially with Raymond looking to return from a back injury that prevented him from playing in the final two preseason games.

At cornerback, Chris Cook and Antoine Winfield are listed as starters, with rookie Josh Robinson behind Winfield and A.J. Jefferson, recently acquired via trade, behind Cook.

Looking for positive returns
Harvin is listed as the Vikings top kickoff returner, and when the team decides to give him a rest from that role they will lean on Marcus Sherels to handle the job. Sherels is also listed as the top punt returner, with Jarius Wright #2 behind him. Now, Sherels is dealing with an ankle injury heading into Week 1, so if he is unable to play it’ll be Jefferson as the backup kickoff returner and Robinson as the primary punt returner.

Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 23 Comments »

23 Responses to “(Unofficial) Depth Chart: Guideline More Than Rule”

  1. By odark30 on Sep 4, 2012 | Reply


  2. By TITUS KNOWS BEST on Sep 4, 2012 | Reply

    First! What is this? Recess? First one out the door to the playground?

  3. By odark30 on Sep 4, 2012 | Reply

    Hey Wobs……That was a great article. The two first paras were clinchers. You aproached the rest of the article as if you were announcing the players onto the field. Great job. And I am not just saygin that because I am stoned watching the adult swim.

  4. By odark30 on Sep 4, 2012 | Reply

    no……..more like Claire Huxtable praising theo for finally learning the true value of money.

  5. By TITUS KNOWS BEST on Sep 4, 2012 | Reply

    Not sure the metaphor is so accurate. One, when class had seating arrangements, changes did occur based on performance. Bad behavior usually got you a new assignment.

  6. By TITUS KNOWS BEST on Sep 4, 2012 | Reply

    Shall I go on…?

  7. By RichardA1 on Sep 4, 2012 | Reply

    C’mon you guys, this is about football. You should have your just sharpened sword, holding it like a dart, and throwing it a a picture of the Jaguars! While drinking out of a animal horn and eating a giant turkey leg! I would’nt play AP, maybe just a few plays. Toby and a Todman can get the job done!

  8. By TITUS KNOWS BEST on Sep 4, 2012 | Reply

    Not a big fan of turkey unless thinly sliced on a toasted bun with a light amount of mayo and stone ground mustard and a couple slices of swiss cheese and a little lettuce –

  9. By Gunner on Sep 5, 2012 | Reply

    Todman is on the practice squad!

  10. By Viking33 on Sep 5, 2012 | Reply

    Yep – Good plan. Take him off the PUP so he can be a Nuclear Weapon on the sidelines. All we need is a Big Red button that Leslie can wear around his neck.

  11. By JE on Sep 5, 2012 | Reply

    I expect 8 to10 carrys for AP.Toby will carry the load and depending on the score Asiata may get a few as well.It may even be as little as 4 or 5 for AP. Knowing AP he will want 20!!!

  12. By JE on Sep 5, 2012 | Reply

    If we can win two out of the first three games , keep AP healthy and get Simpson back we have a shot at a winning season and a possible playoff spot.We need a good start or it could be a long season.SKOL VIKINGS!!!

  13. By Viking33 on Sep 5, 2012 | Reply

    AP will get no carries. I am excited about the game anyways though, with or without AP.

  14. By william vaughn on Sep 5, 2012 | Reply

    Ive been a viking fan for over 30 years and it is time for management to draft like they want to win a super bowl!

  15. By Emmanuel on Sep 5, 2012 | Reply

    Our secondary is so trash. We don’t have enough depth in our backfield especially not with Mistral Raymond or Cook at corner. And Winfield is deteriorating and getting older. But i do have a little faith in Harrison

  16. By Emmanuel on Sep 5, 2012 | Reply

    Also we still have yet to find a solid outside linebacker ever since we lost Ben Leber. Erin Henderson isn’t enough and gets eaten up by offensive lineman. Horrible at shedding the block

  17. By Emmanuel on Sep 5, 2012 | Reply

    I don’t see our team going anywhere past 3-6 wins this year. We are a building team especially behind frasier and we have alot to do before we can even blurt out the words “playoffs”

  18. By DrinkHeavyVikingsFans on Sep 5, 2012 | Reply

    Agree with Emmanuel..we have way too many holes to fill and the few we managed to address this off-season have only been upgraded to question mark status..

    As far as this week goes, I’ll stay with my prediction yesterday..a 17-16 Vikings win. But I’d like to see two things:

    1. Quick slant completions. Our OL is not good enough yet to give Ponder 3-4 seconds. If our receivers can’t get quick separation and if Ponder can’t hit them, we’re in for trouble.

    2. Red zone rushing TDs. We need some attitude and be able to run the ball down people’s throats down near the goal line.

    3. 4th Qtr pass rush. Pure and simple, we need to pressure opposing QBs late in the game to avoid the big play against us. LBs need to be able to hit the QB on blitzes.

    4. Big hits from our safeties. I don’t care if we get 100 personal foul calls, when someone catches a pass across the middle or breaks a run off the LOS, our safeties need to make them pay for it.

    Keep some cold ones on hand fellas..GO VIKES!

  19. By DrinkHeavyVikingsFans on Sep 5, 2012 | Reply

    Lol..4 things!

  20. By Stoney on Sep 5, 2012 | Reply

    @Odark30, very cool, I was also having an herbal refreshment, listening to Rubber Soul & Revolver (The Beatles)

  21. By RichardA1 on Sep 5, 2012 | Reply

    Winfield getting older? thats a understatement, 14 years, thank God he can still play. This thing bites us in our ass every year, our defense backfield, offense’s throwing on them at will. Makes you want to run down on the field and have a talk with them.

  22. By Eli on Sep 5, 2012 | Reply

    Lol you too?

  23. By Carl on Sep 7, 2012 | Reply

    I think if our team sticks with our game plan we should be ok. I also think our back field is improved even though they are young. The defensive line should create enough preasure on the QB to get our secondary some chances at some int’s

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