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Black and Blue Division: The Minnesota Vikings' Offense


It's time for part three, ladies and gentlemen! In parts one and two, I examined the personnel moves that the Chicago Bears underwent during this offseason. Now it's the Minnesota Vikings' offense's time to go under the microscope.

Quarterbacks: Christian Ponder, Joe Webb, Sage Rosenfels
Additions: McLeod Bethel-Thompson (UDFA, Sacramento State)
Subtractions: none

There's no change in the quarterbacks who will be on the Vikings' roster. Ponder will start, and Webb and Rosenfels will fight for the primary backup job behind him. My bet is that Webb wins the job - Leslie Frazier and company like his athleticism and will give him every opportunity to be the #2. Unfortunately for McLeod, there can be only three. He'll either be on the practice squad or working at the Citgo.

Running Backs: Adrian Peterson, Toby Gerhart, Jordan Todman
Additions: Lex Hilliard (free agent, MIA), Derrick Coleman (UDFA, UCLA)
Subtractions: Lorenzo Booker, Caleb King

Peterson remains the Vikings' greatest offensive threat, but ended last season on injured reserve with a knee injury that's "not there yet" as of last week. Gerhart enters his third year prepared to shoulder the load if Peterson isn't ready for week one, as he averaged almost 5 yards per carry in 2011. Hilliard and Todman will battle for the third spot, while Coleman will push for a hybrid halfback/fullback role.

Fullbacks: Ryan D'Imperio
Additions: Jerome Felton (free agent, IND)
Subtractions: None

D'Imperio started last season on the practice squad but was promoted early in the season. Felton bounced around the past few years but may have hurt his chances of making the roster by getting a DUI at a McDonald's drive-thru a few weeks ago. The fullback isn't a heavily-used position in this offense, however, as they have tended to move their tight ends around in the H-back position frequently.

Tight Ends/H-Backs: Kyle Rudolph, Mickey Shuler
Additions: John Carlson (free agent, SEA), Rhett Ellison (4th-round draft pick, USC), Allen Reisner (practice squad)
Subtractions: Jim Kleinsasser, Visanthe Shiancoe

Gone are the old guard of Kleinsasser and Shiancoe, who tormented the Packers' defense in years past. Rudolph is an athletic pass-catching tight end and Carlson comes over from the Seahawks, where he caught 137 balls between 2008 and 2010 before missing 2011 to injury. Ellison is listed as a tight end, but may play the hybrid H-back role vacated by Kleinsasser.

Wide Receivers: Percy Harvin, Devin Aromashodu, Michael Jenkins, Emmanuel Arcenaux, Stephen Burton
Additions: Jerome Simpson (free agent, CIN), Greg Childs (4th-round draft pick, Arkansas), Jarius Wright (4th-round draft pick, Arkansas), Kamar Jorden (UDFA, Bowling Green), A.J. Love (UDFA, USF), Kerry Taylor (practice squad), Bryan Taylor (UDFA, Cornell)
Subtractions: None

This unit was thin at best even before Harvin's sudden trade demand; he'll still be wearing purple in the fall though. Simpson had a candidate for play of the year in 2011 with his flip into the end zone, but he's nothing more than a 3rd or 4th wideout. This unit doesn't have a prototypical number one, though Childs has the size to be a big target in the red zone. Harvin's versatility is a dangerous asset, however.

Offensive Line: Phil Loadholt, John Sullivan, Charlie Johnson, Joe Berger, Brandon Fusco, Patrick Brown, DeMarcus Love, Scott Kooistra
Additions: Matt Kalil (first-round pick, USC), Quentin Saulsberry (UDFA, Miss. State), Tyler Holmes (UDFA, Massachusetts), Austin Pasztor (UDFA, Virginia), Geoff Schwartz (free agent, CAR), Chris DeGeare (practice squad)
Subtractions: Steve Hutchinson, Anthony Herrera

Kalil looks to solidify the left side of the Vikings' line immediately. Former All-Pro Hutchinson went on IR last season and won't be coming back, nor will Herrera, the other starting guard. Kalil's arrival allows Charlie Johnson to move from tackle to left guard. The Vikings will still have a question mark at the right guard spot, though, which is up for grabs between Fusco and Schwartz. This line will be one of, if not the youngest line in football next season.

Keep an eye out for the review of the Vikings' defense coming up later this week.