Right Defensive End—Projected Depth Chart:
1. Everson Griffen
2. Corey Wootton
3. Justin Trattou
4. Rakim Cox
Expectations for Everson Griffen will rise exponentially with his big contract. He has the talent to live up to his salary. Griffen should also benefit from a more consistent usage. Rushing the passer is a chess match, but it's tough to anticipate your opponent when you exit the game too often. Staying on the edge should help Griffen as well.
Corey Wootton factors in as solid depth at defensive end. He will play a solid number of snaps as Mike Zimmer keeps his rotations going.
Left Defensive End—Projected Depth Chart:
1. Brian Robison
2. Scott Crichton
3. Spencer Nealy
4. Jake Snyder
5. Tyler Scott
It has flown under the radar that Brian Robison has been one of Minnesota's better players since he took over for Ray Edwards on the left side. His play is a boon to the run defense and pass rush. If the rookie behind him lives up to his billing, Robison may even play a lower snap count to stay fresh.
That's where Scott Crichton comes in. He plundered the backfields of his opponents while at Oregon State and has the ability to do the same in the NFL. He's especially effective against the run. Crichton could be an end that gets moved inside on passing downs.
3-Technique Tackle—Projected Depth Chart:
1. Sharrif Floyd
2. Tom Johnson
3. Chase Baker
4. Kheeston Randall
This is one of the most important positions for the Vikings to have immediate success under Zimmer. Sharrif Floyd will be the starter and figures to play a big snap count. After a disappointing rookie season, he has a big task ahead. He may not be as impactful as he needs to be in terms of making plays in the backfield and pressuring from the interior as a rusher.
The problem is that there's little else behind him. Tom Johnson, Chase Baker and Kheeston Randall could all state their case for playing time, but none of them offers anything that Floyd doesn't.
Nose Tackle—Projected Depth Chart:
1. Linval Joseph
2. Fred Evans
3. Shamar Stephen
4. Isame Faciane
If Linval Joseph offers any kind of value as a pass-rusher, he will prove to be one of the best free-agent signings in the league. Nose tackles aren't easy to find, so getting him for a cheap price was a coup. Joseph will prove to be an upgrade over Letroy Guion.
Depth isn't bad at the nose tackle spot. Fred Evans has been a serviceable Viking for a few years now. He's good for a flash of brilliance once or twice a game and isn't a liability for the rest of it.
Even as a seventh-round pick, Shamar Stephen could be in the equation right away. He'll be worth having around if injuries strike.