Hey, do you guys mind if we talk about something other than Sam Bradford, the team’s brand-new starting quarterback, for a minute?
When the Vikings trimmed their roster down to 53 players yesterday, General Manager Rick Spielman uncharacteristically gave pink slips to three of his eight 2016 draft picks and a bunch of other young roster hopefuls. No undrafted free agents from this year made the team.
Now, guys like Moritz Bohringer, Stephen Weatherly and C.J. Ham could make the practice squad. But the point is that the Vikings, who had been trying to get younger for a few years in a row, won’t do it in 2016.
And, believe it or not, they have one of the NFL’s oldest rosters right now.
Every year after final roster cuts, Jimmy Kempski, an apparent lunatic who currently writes for the Philly Voice, calculates the average age of every NFL team. This year, the Vikings rank 31st in the league. Yes, really.
In 2015, the Vikings had an average age of 25.83, seventh-youngest. In 2016, with the Vikings keeping much of their roster from 2015 intact, are about a year older. Their average age of 26.58 trails only the Falcons.
Yes, that average is inflated by a few older guys. Terence Newman, at 37, is one of the NFL’s oldest position players. Backup QB Shaun Hill is 36. Starting center Joe Berger is 34. And defensive stalwarts Chad Greenway and Brian Robison are both 33. Defensive tackle Tom Johnson and running back Adrian Peterson are the other 30-somethings on the roster.
But the increase in age overall shouldn’t be construed as a bad thing. Why not? The “young Vikings” are growing up and hitting their primes.
Pro Bowl safety Harrison Smith is 27. Top cornerback Xavier Rhodes is 26. Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd and wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, who like Rhodes were also first-round picks in 2013, are now 25.
So those guys can’t be called youngsters anymore. But many of the key contributors aren’t fogeys yet, so their window remains wide open.