Getty Images

The 2021 NFL season is on the horizon, and few divisions are as intriguing entering the new year as the NFC North. The reigning champion Packers are still trying to appease Aaron Rodgers, the face of the franchise. The cellar-dwelling Lions are kicking off a new era under Dan Campbell. The Bears are fresh off their most promising quarterback addition in years after drafting Justin Fields. And the Vikings might quietly be the most underrated of all, with Kirk Cousins entering somewhat of a critical year under center, Mike Zimmer looking to return his defense to form and veterans like Patrick Peterson on board for a potential playoff run.

What's new and what's familiar about the Vikings entering 2021? Here's a full rundown of their depth chart heading into OTAs and training camp, including projected Week 1 starters at every position on both sides of the ball:

Note: Asterisks denote rookies.




Kirk Cousins

Kellen Mond*

Nate Stanley

Jake Browning


Dalvin Cook

Alexander Mattison

Ameer Abdullah

Kene Nwangwu*


C.J. Ham

Jake Bargas


Adam Thielen

Ihmir Smith-Marsette*

K.J. Osborn


Justin Jefferson

Bisi Johnson

Whop Philyor*


Chad Beebe

Dan Chisena

Blake Proehl*


Irv Smith Jr.

Tyler Conklin

Zach Davidson*

Brandon Dillon


Christian Darrisaw*

Rashod Hill

Evin Ksiezarczyk


Dakota Dozier

Mason Cole

Dru Samia


Garrett Bradbury

Mason Cole

Cohl Cabral


Ezra Cleveland

Kyle Hinton

Wyatt Davis*


Brian O'Neill

Oli Udoh

Blake Brandel

The Vikings' offense looks largely the same since the last time Minnesota took the field, save for a major change at left tackle, where veteran Riley Reiff has been swapped for first-round draft pick Christian Darrisaw. Even if Darrisaw is just serviceable, he'll replace Reiff adequately. Gone also is tight end Kyle Rudolph, who said goodbye after 10 seasons and gives way to Smith, who has flashed as a pass catcher and should be due for a breakout as a full-timer.

The biggest pieces, of course, reside at QB, RB and WR: Cousins has been mostly good but rarely elite and now has a more gifted No. 2 lurking behind him for motivation; Mond probably isn't ready to challenge for snaps, but he's at least got play-making upside and warranted a big Day Two investment from the front office. Cook remains the centerpiece of the offense, though Mattison is solid insurance. And Jefferson emerged in 2020 as this club's most electric weapon. It's important that he and Thielen stay healthy, as the Vikings' WR depth leaves quite a bit to be desired.



Danielle Hunter

Jordan Brailford

Hercules Mata'afa


Michael Pierce

Jaylen Twyman*

Armon Watts


Dalvin Tomlinson

James Lynch

Jordon Scott*


D.J. Wonnum

Janarius Robinson*

Patrick Jones II*


Anthony Barr

Ryan Connelly

Christian Elliss*


Eric Kendricks

Blake Lynch

Tuf Borland*


Nick Vigil

Chazz Surratt*

Troy Dye


Patrick Peterson

Jeff Gladney

Kris Boyd


Cameron Dantzler

Bashaud Breeland

Mackensie Alexander


Xavier Woods

Josh Metellus

Luther Kirk


Harrison Smith

Camryn Bynum*

Myles Dorn

Zimmer's defenses have almost always had top-10 finishes since the coach took over in 2014, but that changed in 2020, with injuries and inexperience ravaging that side of the ball. The new faces on "D" reinforce that, with the Vikings paying Tomlinson, Peterson and Breeland to bring stability to the front four and secondary. All three are more than capable of doing just that, but the unit is also asking lower-tier vets like Vigil and Woods to replace departed starters Eric Wilson and Anthony Harris, who both fled to Philadelphia.

The biggest question mark, not so unlike 2020, is at pass rusher. Hunter is coming off a season lost to injury and may or may not still be seeking a pay raise or trade, but even if he's back, happy and healthy (and in that case, he's easily one of the game's top defensive ends), the Vikings lack a proven complement. Tomlinson should help up front, but no one else on the roster has a long or overly promising resume getting after the QB. Barring another surprise Rick Spielman swing a la the Yannick Ngakoue trade, Minnesota will be banking on one of its youngsters really stepping up to aid the rush.