The Minnesota Vikings took a step backward in 2018, but after some changes to the coaching staff, they are expecting big things in 2019.
Former Vikings quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski is entering his first full season as the team’s offensive coordinator. John DeFilippo was fired after an embarrassing 21-7 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football, and it quickly proved to be the right move, as Minnesota’s offense exploded for 41 points the following week.
Stefanski brought some creativity to this offense in the final three games of the 2018 season, and it’s a trend that expected to continue into 2019. He will also be aided by Gary Kubiak. The veteran offensive-oriented coach was hired earlier this offseason to be an assistant head coach as well as an offensive advisor.
Kirk Cousins put together an inconsistent first season with the Vikings. The former Washington Redskin did have some good performances last year, but the bad ones are what have stuck in the minds of fans all offseason. Look no further than the last game of the season, when the Vikings hosted the divisional rival Chicago Bears in a win-and-you’re-in situation. Minnesota put up just 10 points while Cousins threw for just 132 yards and one touchdown. The Vikings’ first four drives of the game were three-and-outs, when the offense was charged with being at its best.
Cousins still did put up career numbers, and with a full year under his belt in this offense, we should again expect the Vikings to make the playoffs.
The Vikings have now finalized the first version of their 53-man roster for Week 1 of the regular season. It’s important to keep in mind that an NFL 53-man roster is fluid, but as of now, these are the 53 men the Vikings will march into battle with every week. Below, we’ll break down the roster on each side of the ball and special teams.
The Vikings felt comfortable rolling with just two quarterbacks after coming away impressed with Mannion during the preseason. This was an interesting decision when you consider how well third-string developmental quarterback Kyle Sloter played during the preseason. The Arizona Cardinals signed him to their practice squad on Sunday. Earlier this preseason, he threw for 102 yards and a touchdown against the Cardinals.
Last week, the Vikings shipped off offensive guard Danny Isidora to the Miami Dolphins for a 2020 seventh-round pick. A three-year starter at the University of Miami, Isidora was a fifth round pick in the 2017 NFL draft. He never materialized into a starter with the Vikings, however, receiving just five starts in two seasons.
The Vikings instead opted to roll with just four wide receivers on their initial 53-man roster, after reportedly trying and failing to trade former first-round bust Laquon Treadwell. It’s not often you see an NFL 53-man roster carry more running backs than wide receivers, but that’s the case for the Vikings as of now. Treadwell finishes his career with the Vikings recording 56 catches for 517 yards and one touchdown in 40 games.
The Vikings’ depth chart on the defensive side of the ball is strongest on the defensive line. Veterans Hunter, Griffen and Joseph lead the way.
The Vikings released veteran cornerback Bene Benwikere last week. He was slated to back up Rhodes and Alexander on the right side. In three preseason games, he has recorded five combined tackles and one pass defensed. Boyd now takes his spot.
The Vikings also traded for Fields, who was most recently a cornerback with the Kansas City Chiefs, for a conditional selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. The rookie out of Clemson recorded just 39 total tackles and one interception during his four collegiate seasons, but Minnesota believes he has NFL potential.
The Vikings surprised many when they cut punter Matt Wile and signed Colquitt. The 34-year-old was a Pro Bowl alternate last year with the Cleveland Browns, and the Vikings saw an opportunity to improve their special teams.
Minnesota also released kicker Kaare Vedvik just a couple of weeks after sending a fifth-round pick to the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for him. He made just one of his four field goal attempts with Minnesota. The Vikings still elected to keep him on the practice squad.
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