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Four Vikings who could be left off the final 53-man roster

In less than a week, the Minnesota Vikings will trim its roster from 91 players to 53 for the regular season. Every year is a surprise keep or cut, that includes veterans, making it hard exactly to project the final 53-man roster. With that being said, here are four Vikings that could be cut ahead of the Aug. 29 deadline.

Outside linebacker D.J. Wonnum

D.J. Wonnum is entering the final year of his rookie contract, and through three seasons, he’s shown that he is a rotational edge rusher at best. Wonnum’s tackling has improved year by year, but his performance against the run is below average, while he’s also never generated a pressure grade higher than 57.8, according to Pro Football Focus.

The Vikings will keep four to five outside linebackers come week one. Danielle Hunter and Marcus Davenport will make the cut. Luiji Vilain impressed in the first week of preseason against the Seattle Seahawks. Patrick Jones is still under team control for two more seasons, while Andre Carter II signed a hefty contract as an undrafted free agent. Releasing Wonnum would save the Vikings a little over $2.5 million in salary cap savings.

Wide receiver Jalen Nailor

Jalen Nailor impressed over the final two weeks of the regular season with seven catches for 151 yards and a score, but the argument could be made that the production came when it didn’t matter.

Nailor has been sidelined throughout the preseason with injury not allowing him to compete for the No. 4, No. 5 receiver position. Brandon Powell joined the team with punt return experience. Trishton Jackson performed well against the Titans, and this team still has two former first-rounders Jalen Reagor and N’Keal Harry, two players with more playing experience than Nailor, competing for a roster spot. When it comes to roster cuts, Nailor could be the odd man out.

Running back Kene Nwangwu

There’s no doubt that Kene Nwangwu is one of the best kick returners in the NFL. But, outside of his kick return abilities, he’s yet to show that he is a valuable No. 2 running back, and like Nailor he’s yet to appear in preseason due to injury. Ty Chandler has demonstrated the ability to back up Alexander Mattison.

When it comes to kick returning, the Vikings brought in Aaron Dykes to handle the duties against the Titans, resulting in five returns for 112 yards. Dykes, in a small sample size against Tennessee, also showed his value as a runner and receiver. With that being said, this could mean trouble for Nwangwu.

Offensive tackle Oli Udoh

It will not be surprising if Oli Udoh is left off the final 53-man roster. Udoh was called against the Titans for two penalties declined on back-to-back plays. Later in the second quarter, his bad technique by lunging allowed a Caleb Murphy sack. On the next play, he allowed another sack as Rashad Weaver got to Nick Mullens. It was far from the prettiest day for the Vikings longtime swing tackle and one-time starting guard. In 2022, the Vikings drafted Vederian Lowe to be a depth swing tackle; his PFF grade against the Titans was 78.4.

This could be difficult though. Udoh is on a unique contract that pays him over $2.5 million with a cap hit of $1.2 million. If he gets cut, his cap hit more than doubles, which is a hindrance in cutting him.

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