June 24, 2024

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Many Vikings enthusiasts are eagerly anticipating the NFL draft, particularly given the team’s search for a quarterback. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has already secured the resources needed to potentially move up in the draft, ensuring the opportunity to select one of the top quarterbacks available. Depending on their draft choices, this could spell trouble for certain players currently on the roster.

Here are five players for the Vikings who could face surprise cuts:

1. **Lewis Cine**: Selected in the first round of the 2022 draft, Cine has had minimal involvement on defense for the Minnesota Vikings, with only ten defensive snaps over two seasons. A significant injury sidelined him for much of his rookie year, and his sophomore season saw limited playing time, with stretches of inactivity in 2023. Despite his potential, his inability to contribute consistently puts his roster spot at risk.

5 Vikings Who Are Surprise Cut Candidates

2. **Jalen Nailor**: Another draft pick from 2022, Nailor has struggled with recurring minor injuries, resulting in limited appearances on the field. Despite displaying flashes of talent, his inability to stay healthy raises concerns about his availability, which could lead to him being left out of the final 53-man roster, especially if the team opts to add more depth at wide receiver during the draft.

Nick Mullens faces uncertainty in light of the quarterback dynamics, which are inherently unpredictable. Should Minnesota add a quarterback in the draft, a move widely anticipated, it would swell the quarterback count to four—exceeding the team’s needs.

In this scenario, the security of new starter Sam Darnold and the rookie would be assured, casting doubt on the futures of Jaren Hall and Nick Mullens. The team would need to choose between retaining the veteran Mullens or the sophomore Hall. Hall’s struggles when thrust into action last season contrast with Mullens’ propensity for turnovers, presenting the Vikings with a decision based on Hall’s potential versus Mullens’ seasoned presence.

Patrick Jones recently held the mantle as the team’s primary pass-rusher, but his standing has shifted to EDGE4 due to three new signings. Andrew Van Ginkel and Jonathan Greenard are set to start, with veteran Jihad Ward likely serving as a backup.

Aaron Jones finds himself in a similar predicament. The Vikings’ decision to sign Ward could suggest a diminished regard for Jones within the organization. If the team values 2023 rookie Andre Carter, as indicated by his retention last season, and Ward ranks above him, Jones may find himself on the chopping block.

While not every NFL team carries a fullback, the Vikings still employ C.J. Ham, renowned as one of the premier players in his position. Ham’s on-field contributions and leadership qualities bolster his case for retention. However, Head Coach Kevin O’Connell’s utilization of Ham has waned in recent years. Despite consistent praise from the coaching staff, Ham’s declining offensive snaps and touches, coupled with potential salary cap savings, raise questions about his future with the team.


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