EAGAN, Minn. -- Vikings coach Mike Zimmer remained fairly tight-lipped when asked about specific players heading into Saturday’s roster cut day.

He acknowledged that while he has a pretty good feel for his players at this point, there is something to be said about performing in a game rather than in a practice.

That obviously isn’t something the Vikings have at their disposal this season with no preseason games before the season opener against the Green Bay Packers on Sept. 13.

“You can’t judge against other people, and they get to know the guys that they are going against,” Zimmer said. “You try to put them in as many game situations and see how they think and how they react when coaches aren’t on the field. Just some players emerge in the games more so than in practice.’’

While the evaluation process is different this preseason, there’s some solace in the fact that teams can keep 16 players on the practice squad compared to 10 players last season.

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“That helps,” Zimmer said. “I think it gives them an opportunity to continue to get coached and work on some of the fundamentals and techniques so that they get to a point where they can help us.’’

No matter what, the Vikings still have some tough decisions to make before the deadline Saturday at 3 p.m. CT. Here are position groups battling for roster spots:

Wide receivers

Locks: Adam Thielen, Bisi Johnson, Justin Jefferson, K.J. Osborn

For the past month, Thielen and Johnson have patrolled the outside, and Jefferson unsurprisingly started getting most of the reps in the slot as of late. It also feels safe to consider Osborn a lock to make the team because he has been the primary return man in practices. Everything else is up for grabs.

Bubble: Tajae Sharpe, Chad Beebe, Alexander Hollins, Dillon Mitchell, Quartney Davis

While it makes sense to keep a veteran presence like Sharpe or Beebe in the mix, Hollins has made more splash plays throughout training camp. As for Mitchell and Davis, they seem to be on the outside looking in.

Offensive line

Locks: Riley Reiff, Dakota Dozier, Garrett Bradbury, Pat Elflein, Brian O’Neill, Rashod Hill, Aviante Collins, Oli Udoh, Ezra Cleveland

Other than presumed starters Reiff, Dozier, Bradbury, Elflein and O’Neill, guys like Hill, Collins, and Udoh had a solid training camp, and Cleveland is a high draft pick who has no chance of getting cut.

Bubble: Blake Brandel, Dru Samia, Kyle Hinton, Brett Jones, Jake Lacina

This could come down to whether the Vikings want a prototypical backup center in Jones, or a guy like Samia who might have more upside down the road. It seems like Brandel, Hinton and Lacina would be candidates for the practice squad.

Defensive line

Locks: Danielle Hunter, Shamar Stephen, Jaleel Johnson, Yannick Ngakoue, Ifeadi Odenigbo, D.J. Wonnum, James Lynch

You’ve got arguably the best pass-rushing duo in the league with Hunter and the newly acquired Ngakoue, plus depth pieces like Stephen, Johnson, and Odenigbo. It’s also very unlikely the Vikings cut Wonnum and Lynx considering the were just selected in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Bubble: Eddie Yarbrough, Jalyn Holmes, Armon Watts, Hercules Mata’afa, David Moa

After the addition of Ngakoue, guys like Yarbrough and Holmes might be viewed as expendable. As for Watts and Mata’afa, they have worked into the rotation over the past month and there’s a good chance both could make the team. It seems highly unlikely Moa is anything more than a practice squad candidate.


Locks: Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks, Eric Wilson, Troy Dye

There’s no doubt who the starters are with Barr, Kendricks, and Wilson back, and Dye was a high draft pick who the Vikings will try to build into a solid player for the future.

Bubble: Hardy Nickerson, Blake Lynch, David Reese II

There’s a chance all of these guys could be cut. If someone has an edge, it’s probably Nickerson since he has NFL experience.


Locks: Mike Hughes, Holton Hill, Cameron Dantzler, Jeff Gladney

A young group of cornerbacks will be led by Hughes and Hill, with Dantzler and Gladney also playing a big role in the secondary.

Bubble: Kris Boyd, Mark Fields II, Nevelle Clarke, Harrison Hand

You can never have too many cornerbacks, according to Zimmer, and that bodes will for some of these guys on the bubble. It seems likely that Boyd will find his way onto the roster after gaining some experience last season. As for Fields, Clarke, and Hand, they are probably vying for the final spot.


The Vikings have officially announced their Vikings Fans in the Stands program, in which fans can purchase a cutout to be placed in the stands for this season’s home games. The cutout costs $150 and will remain in U.S. Bank Stadium for all home games. They also will be made available to fans for pickup at the conclusion of the season.

For more information visit www.vikings.com/cutouts. Any order placed by 10 a.m. Tuesday will be placed in the stands for the Sept. 13 season opener against the Green Bay Packers.