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Breaking news and year-round coverage of the NFL's Minnesota Vikings. Access Vikings is the Star Tribune's blog covering team news, rumors, games and all things purple.

Before Vikings-Seahawks meet, Mike Priefer wishes Blair Walsh well

For as long as Blair Walsh is in the NFL, he’ll be inextricably linked to the Seattle Seahawks. That’s a consequence of missing one of the most famous field goals in NFL playoff history, and it’ll be true whether or not Walsh is kicking for the team he helped send to the second round of the playoffs back in January 2016.

And with the Vikings heading west to face the Seahawks in their second preseason game on Friday night, Walsh’s 27-yard miss in the NFC wild card playoffs is back in the news, as is his ignominious exit from Minnesota. The Vikings cut Walsh last November, after he missed four field goals and four extra points in nine games (including two critical misses against the Lions on Nov. 5), and the kicker signed with Seattle in February.

Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer, who stood by Walsh through a round of struggles that seemed largely tied to the kicker’s confidence in the wake of his playoff miss, said he contacted Walsh to congratulate him when he signed with the Seahawks.

“I was happy for him, and that’s pretty much it,” Priefer said. “I’ll say hello to him; I’ve got no ill will. I like Blair. He’s a fine young man and we had four-and-a-half years together, so I’ve known him for a long time.”

In his first game with the Seahawks, Walsh hit two field goals — from 42 and 28 yards out — and made all six of his extra points. If that was a sign Walsh has moved on from his travails with the Vikings, count Priefer among those who are hoping for Walsh to make the best of his fresh start.

“He did a lot of really good things here in Minnesota,” Priefer said. “I know it didn’t end well for him and for us a couple years ago, but at the end of the day, he’s a very talented young man.”

Sorting things out: Projecting the Vikings' regular season roster

Plenty of questions remain on the Vikings roster with three preseason games to be played in the next two weeks.

But let’s stop for a second to take stock of where things stand, from our point of view, in between the Vikings’ exhibition opener in Buffalo and Friday’s second preseason game in Seattle. Below is our second 53-man roster projection of the summer.

OFFENSE

Quarterbacks (3): Sam Bradford, Case Keenum, Taylor Heinicke

Teddy Bridgewater has a few weeks to return to practice before he’ll transfer to the regular season Physically Unable to Perform list, where he’ll be required to sit six games before he’s again eligible to return to practice. This projection is assuming Bridgewater will still be on PUP. Keenum to this point has been the more stable option at backup quarterback. The Vikings often keep three healthy passers on the active roster.

Running backs (3): RB  Dalvin Cook, RB Latavius Murray, RB Jerick McKinnon

On the bubble: FB C.J. Ham, RB Terrell Newby

Don’t sleep on fullback C.J. Ham, the converted running back from Duluth, but at this point the Vikings could use tight end David Morgan in a similar backfield role. Ham is eligible for the practice squad.

Receivers (6): Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Laquon Treadwell, Jarius Wright, Rodney Adams, Stacy Coley

On the bubble:  Isaac Fruechte, Cayleb Jones

Veteran Michael Floyd will be on the suspended list for the first four games, freeing up a roster spot for a young receiver like Adams or Coley. Both Coley and Adams have flashed some playmaking ability in this young preseason.

Tight ends (4): Kyle Rudolph, David Morgan, Kyle Carter, Bucky Hodges

On the bubble: Nick Truesdell, Josiah Price

Carter, undrafted last year out of Penn State, has been heavily involved this summer, including a TE-high 21 snaps in Buffalo, and looks poised to seize a roster spot. Hodges, the rookie, has plenty of room to grow, but his upside as a receiver could warrant a spot.

Offensive line (9): OT Riley Reiff, OT Mike Remmers, G Alex Boone, C/G Nick Easton, C/G Pat Elflein, C/G Joe Berger, OT Rashod Hill, G/T Jeremiah Sirles, G Danny Isidora

On the bubble: OT Willie Beavers, G T.J. Clemmings, C/G Zac Kerin

This is where the roster hits a logjam with plenty of young and inexperienced linemen competing for spots. Willie Beavers, last year’s fourth-round pick, has shown some improvement at right tackle and could push Sirles for a spot. T.J. Clemmings’ move to guard also seems to suit him, but the Vikings may like the upside of Isidora instead.

DEFENSE

Defensive line (9): DE Everson Griffen, DE Danielle Hunter, DE Brian Robison, DE Stephen Weatherly, DT Linval Joseph, DT Tom Johnson, DT Datone Jones, DT Jaleel Johnson, DT Shamar Stephen

On the bubble: DE Tashawn Bower, DT Will Sutton, DT Dylan Bradley, DE Ifeadi Odenigbo 

The Vikings kept five defensive ends a couple years ago when Justin Trattou had a strong preseason. That might be the case with rookie Tashawn Bower, the undrafted LSU product who stood out during the exhibition opener in Buffalo. Here instead are five defensive tackles after the Vikings were shorthanded at DT last season. Should a roster spot come between Stephen and fourth-round pick Jaleel Johnson, the Vikings could keep another pass rusher like Bower. Defensive tackle Will Sutton and rookie end Ifeadi Odenigbo are also in the mix. Sharrif Floyd is expected to start the season on the reserve/non-football injury list.

Linebackers (6): OLB Anthony Barr, LB Eric Kendricks, OLB Edmond Robinson, OLB Emmanuel Lamur, LB Ben Gedeon, LB Kentrell Brothers

On the bubble: OLB Eric Wilson, OLB Elijah Lee

Gedeon, a fourth-round pick, has also been heavily involved this summer. He continues to mix in with the first-team defense at weak-side linebacker, where Lamur and Robinson are also competing. All three have been fronting special teams units and are likely to make the team. Brothers (hamstring) needs to get healthy and play this preseason to hold off rookies Elijah Lee and Eric Wilson from taking a roster spot.

Defensive backs (10): CB Xavier Rhodes, CB Trae Waynes, CB Mackensie Alexander, CB Terence Newman, CB Marcus Sherels, S Harrison Smith, S Andrew Sendejo, S Anthony Harris, S Jayron Kearse, DB Antone Exum Jr. 

On the bubble: DB Jack Tocho, CB Jabari Price

Exum Jr. has been healthy and active since landing on crutches with an injured knee earlier this spring. He’s also been revisiting the slot corner role and could be a versatile role player for the Vikings in his fourth NFL season. That’s why he’s ahead of rookie Jack Tocho, the cornerback-turned-safety, at this point. Jabari Price will get a chance to earn his spot, but the top five cornerback spots should be considered locked ending with Sherels, the dynamic punt returner.

Specialists (3): K Kai Forbath, P Ryan Quigley, LS Kevin McDermott

On the bubble: K Marshall Koehn, P Taylor Symmank

Like the Vikings ‘unofficial’ depth chart, the veterans hold the lead here in specialists competitions even though punter Taylor Symmank and kicker Marshall Koehn could supplant either. Both have strong upside, but need to show the consistency of their veteran counterparts.

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