Most of the starting positions are set for the Minnesota Vikings, but a few are yet to be determined. The battles will vary from battles by trying to replace an incumbent to replacing a departed starter. Here is a position by position look at the Vikings position battles for starting or reserve positions. I will begin with coldest battles and finish with the hottest.
The specialist position are pretty much set in stone, provided all involved stay healthy. Ryan Longwell is the kicker. Chris Kluwe is the punter. Cullen Loeffler is the long snapper.
The returnman is the closest thing to a battle in this group. Percy Harvin will enter training camp as the favorite. The things he can do with the ball in his hands is amazing.
His speed and elusiveness will make it hard for Brad Childress to put anyone else back there.
With that said, Aundrae Allison and Darius Reynaud have performed well when given the opportunity to return kicks and Bernard Berrian and Charles Gordon have done well on punt returns, but when it is all said and done I believe Harvin will give the Vikings at least the second best returnman in the league and possibly even the best.
If not for the lack of competition at the specialist positions this may be the easiest unit to predict the starters.
Ben Leber is the starter on the strong side. E.J. Henderson returns from injury to start in the middle. Chad Greenway is emerging as a star on the weakside.
The backups, however, will depend on how many the Vikings keep. Heath Farwell and Erin Henderson will be backups that play a role on the special teams units.
David Herron and Jasper Brinkley will battle for the sixth linebacker spot as the backup in the middle.
Undrafted rookie Robert Francois from Boston College is the most likely candidate to unseat either Farwell or Erin Henderson as an outside backup and special teams player.
The receivers are pretty well set for roster spots, the undetermined is what will be the order of the wide receivers.
The tight end spot is solidified with Visanthe Shiancoe as the starter, Jim Kleinsasser is the blocking tight end and Garrett Mills is the H-Back.
Bernard Berrian, Percy Harvin, Bobby Wade, Sidney Rice are the top four wide receivers.
Aundrae Allison, Darius Reynaud and Glenn Holt will battle for the final roster spot or two. Holt, who was signed this offseason from the Cincinnati Bengals, needs to have an exceptional training camp and preseason the make the squad.
The defensive backs are set on the starting front with Antoine Winfield and Cedric Griffin starting at the cornerbacks and Madieu Williams and Tyrell Johnson will start as the safeties.
The question mark is the nickel and dime corner postions along with the backup safeties.
Asher Allen, Benny Sapp, Charles Gordon and Marcus McCauley will battle for the final two or three corner positions. Allen was drafted in the third round and has drawn comparisons to Winfield.
The backup safeties will a battle between Husain Abdullah, Eric Frampton, Michael Boulware and undrafted rookie DeVon Hall.
Hall had a good career at Utah State as a linebacker, but his athleticism will give him an opportunity to excel as a safety.
The Vikings have one the best defensive lines in the league. Jared Allen will man the right defensive end spot, Kevin and Pat Williams will be the defensive tackles.
The question is who be the left defensive end? Ray Edwards is the returning starter. Brian Robison showed a lot of versatility that may push in into a rotation role.
Kenechi Udeze is returning to the field after spending last season treating his leukemia. Other veterans Jayme Mitchell and Otis Grigsby will be given an opportunity to make the squad as a reserve.
The backup defensive tackle position also is yet to be determined. Letroy Guion was drafted on potential after not playing a whole lot at Florida State.
Fred Evans and Ellis Wyms are the veterans returning as the favorites.
Undrafted rookies Tremayne Johnson from LSU and Antoine Holmes from North Carolina State will need to be very impressive to unseat the returning players.
The running backs are set with Adrian Peterson as the starting halfback and Naufahu Tahi as the fullback.
The question mark in the offensive backfield is well documented in Vikingland. Who will be the starting quarterback?
Sage Rosenfels was aquired from the Houston Texans prior to the draft to challenge Tarvaris Jackson for the starting position.
Both spent periods of time as a starter last season. Jackson began the year as the starter and was benched after a couple games.
He regained the starting spot and played the best ball of his professional career.
Rosenfels was Matt Schaub's backup and replaced him after he was injured. Rosenfels is most known for his collapse in the fourth quarter of the Indianapolis Colts comeback victory over the Texans.
Whoever wins the starting job will be expected to take the Vikings to a division championship, conference championship and Super Bowl championship.
John David Booty and undrafted rookie Sean Glennon will battle for the third quarterback spot on the depth chart. Booty is the favorite after Glennon had an erratic career at Virginia Tech.
Undrafted rookie runningback Ian Johnson from Boise State will battle second-year back Albert Young for the third running back spot behind Peterson and Chester Taylor.
Jeff Dugan will be the favorite to make the team as a reserve fullback and tight end.
The offensive line is the Achilles heel of the Vikings. Without an effective line it does not matter who is playing quarterback.
The left side of tackle Bryant McKinnie and guard Steve Hutchinson are the strength of the line. Last season Matt Birk completed the trio at center.
Birk's departure leaves a question mark at center along with right guard and right tackle.
Birk's replacement looks to be second-year center John Sullivan. His competion is undrafted rookie Jon Cooper and possibly Ryan Cook.
Cook has struggled at right tackle over his three years with the Vikings after having an all-american career as a center at New Mexico.
Anthony Herrera is the returning starting right guard and will battle Artis Hicks, but Herrera is the favorite.
He struggled a bit last year, but is likely to remain the starter. Brian Daniels was an undrafted rookie two years ago that will be given an opportunity.
The favorite to win the right tackle spot is second-round draft pick Phil Loadholt. The other candidtates are Drew Radovich, Marcus Johnson and Bobby Lepori.
Radovich was an undrafted rookie a year ago. He spent most of the season on injured reserve. Johnson was second round draft pick and has not lived up to the expectations. Lepori is an undrafted rookie from Fresno State.