Starting spots pretty well filled for Vikings
EAGAN, Minn.—The Vikings have no starting spots on offense or defense really up for grabs, so most of the drama during the preseason will involve special teams and competition for backup roles.
The team on Tuesday released its first unofficial depth chart in advance of Saturday's preseason opener at Denver.
In the battle at kicker, incumbent Kai Forbath and rookie Daniel Carlson were listed as being tied for the first-team spot. While Marcus Sherels as listed as the top punt and kickoff returner, special-teams coordinator Mike Priefer has said Sherels will start out returning punts with rookie Mike Hughes on kickoffs.
On offense, there will be a battle for final roster spots at wide receiver. Behind first-teamers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen are second-teamers Laquon Treadwell and Kendall Wright and third-teamers Stacy Coley and Brandon Zylstra.
At running back, behind Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray, Mack Brown was listed at third team. He was followed by undrafted free agents Roc Thomas and Mike Boone.
There will be competition to be the No. 3 tight end. Blake Bell and rookie Tyler Conklin were listed as tied for that spot following Kyle Rudolph and David Morgan.
On defense, Ifeadi Odenigbo has moved to three-technique defensive tackle after being a defense end last season. He is second on the depth chart after Sheldon Richardson while rookie Jalyn Holmes is third.
At nose tackle, Jaleel Johnson is listed as the backup behind Linval Joseph. David Parry is listed No. 3.
Depth at linebacker could be a concern for the Vikings. Listed on the second team were Antwione Williams behind Anthony Barr, Eric Wilson behind Ben Gedeon and Kentrell Brothers behind Eric Kendricks.
Brothers will be suspended for the first four games for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances. Rookie Devante Downs is listed as the No. 3 middle linebacker, but Wilson said Tuesday he also can play that spot if needed.
In the secondary, Hughes, taken with the No. 30 pick in the first round of the draft, is listed as the third-string left cornerback and undrafted rookie Holton Hill is No. 4 at right cornerback.
The Vikings are expected to know this week if a neck injury to offensive lineman Nick Easton is serious.
A source said Tuesday that Easton experienced discomfort in the area of his neck after a practice Friday, and he has not practiced since. The source said Easton has had an MRI and other tests and that results have been sent to Dr. Jack Kelley, an orthopedist in New Haven, Conn.
An evaluation of the injury is expected by Thursday. Easton has remained in Minnesota, and has been watching practices.
Easton was the starting left guard last season but had been playing center in training camp because Pat Elflein is on the physically unable to perform list while recovering from ankle and shoulder injuries.
The Vikings, who open the preseason Saturday at Denver, have been practicing with three starting offensive linemen out. Right guard Mike Remmers has not practiced since suffering an ankle injury in practice July 31.
That could leave left tackle Riley Reiff and right tackle Rashod Hill as the only projected starters to play Saturday.
Keenum's old team
For at least part of the first quarter, the Vikings on Saturday will face quarterback Case Keenum, who helped them reach the NFC championship game last season.
Keenum spent one season with Minnesota before signing with the Broncos in March.
"Case was a winner,'' Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. "He won a lot of games and moved well in the pocket. He's a great teammate and made some outstanding plays for us.''
The Vikings named Nick Rallis defensive quality control coach. Rallis, a University of Minnesota linebacker from 2012-16, spent last season as a graduate assistant at Wake Forest.