Breaking down 2019 Vikings’ first unofficial depth chart

Maybe the brass are sending a message.

Or maybe Laquon Treadwell really is the fifth or sixth-best receiver on the Minnesota Vikings, per the first unofficial depth chart of the 2019 season, released earlier this week.

Treadwell is listed third at one of the wide receiver positions, behind Adam Thielen and Chad Beebe.

Stefon Diggs is followed by Jordan Taylor and Jeff Badet on the other side.

More Vikings coverage

A first-round pick in 2016, Treadwell has struggled to stand out in three seasons with the Vikings.

He caught just one pass on three targets as a rookie, and has a combined 502 receiving yards on 55 receptions over the past two seasons. Treadwell caught his first and only touchdown pass during Week 2 of last season.

The Vikings passed on Treadwell’s fifth-year option earlier this year, making 2019 the final season of his rookie contract. Just making the team could prove to be a major hurdle.

Beebe, who joined the Vikings’ practice squad last year after going undrafted out of Northern Illinois, debuted in Week 9 after making a splash during training camp and the preseason.

Taylor arrived after spending three seasons in the Denver Broncos organization, while Jeff Badet went undrafted out of Oklahoma.

Taylor leads the group in pro experience after appearing in 26 games for the Broncos from 2016-17. Meanwhile, Badet was the only receiver to spend all of 2018 on Minnesota’s practice squad, while the Vikings reportedly like him enough that they tacked a signing bonus onto his salary to keep him away from the New York Jets last offseason.

Rookie Alexander Mattison, a second-round pick, is already up to second amongst the running backs, behind starter Dalvin Cook and ahead of former Detroit Lions starter Ameer Abdullah.

Mike Boone, who debuted alongside the recently-cut Roc Thomas last season, is listed alongside De’Angelo Henderson, who spent last season with the Jets, under “others.”

Hercules Mata’afa impressed Mike Zimmer in organized team activities and has shined in training camp, but not enough to be slotted ahead of Shamar Stephen (who recently passed his physical and is now practicing) and Jayln Holmes at defensive tackle.

Veteran long snapper Kevin McDermott is listed as the starter ahead of Austin Cutting, a rookie who was selected in the seventh round out of the Air Force Academy.

The depth chart doesn’t hold many other surprises.

Cornerback Holton Hill, who started three games last year after going undrafted out of Texas, also landed under “other” behind fellow defensive backs Xavier Rhodes, Mackensie Alexander and Benne Benwikere.

Hill was suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the league’s PED policy, so the chart might reflect more of the off-the-field issues rather than his play on it.

Second-round pick Irv Smith Jr. is listed second at tight end behind Kyle Rudolph, ahead of incumbents Tyler Conklin and David Morgan.

Newcomer Sean Mannion is the No. 2 quarterback, ahead of Sloter and rookie Jake Browning.

Los Angeles Rams starter Jared Goff’s backup from 2017-18, Mannion is the only other quarterback on the roster with pro experience after spending four years with the Rams in a reserve role.

Browning, who set Pac-12 records in four seasons at Washington, signed with the Vikings as an undrafted free agent, reportedly for a record-breaking signing bonus.