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LOOKING FOR WORK

The Vikings released 22 players Saturday:

S Greg Blue

S Patrick Body

DT Conrad Bolston

WR Jason Carter

OL Kyle Cook

CB Dovonte Edwards

RB Ciatrick Fason

DT Howard Green

LB George Hall

WR Cortez Hankton

LB David Herron

CB Chad Johnson

C Norm Katnik

OT Jimmy Martin

WR Billy McMullen

WR Martin Nance

TE Richard Owens

RB Artose Pinner

DE Khreem Smith

TE Stephen Spach

QB Tyler Thigpen

WR Chandler Williams

Vikings work to fine-tune roster

  • Article by: Kevin Seifert and Judd Zulgad
  • Star Tribune
  • September 2, 2007 - 12:39 AM

After jettisoning a total of 22 players on the NFL's final cut day, the Vikings spent Saturday evening combing through the waiver wire and considering further tweaks to their roster.

Former Jacksonville safety Nick Sorensen, a respected special teams player, was among their targets. Sorensen visited Cleveland on Friday but could visit Winter Park as early as Monday, agent Ron Del Duca said.

Based on the makeup of their 53-man roster, the Vikings could focus on offensive linemen and possibly receivers as they sift through the list of some 700 newly available players. They have four rookie backups at those two positions.

Team officials did not make themselves available to the media Saturday.

There were no big surprises among the list of cuts, half of which became known Friday. Among Saturday's cuts were two seventh-round draft choices -- quarterback Tyler Thigpen and receiver Chandler Williams -- and four players who appeared in games during the past two seasons: safety Greg Blue, cornerback Dovonte Edwards, running back Artose Pinner and defensive end Khreem Smith.

Blue lost a stacked battle for the backup safety role to veterans Mike Doss and Tank Williams, both of whom are returning from major knee injuries and have missed practice time with new ailments in the past two weeks. (Doss or Williams could be the odd man out if Sorensen signs.)

Blue, a fifth-round draft pick last year known for his hitting ability, said making the team would have been difficult.

"The four guys in front of me have experience starting," Blue said, "and I knew it was going to be really, really hard. But that's what the Vikings chose to do and I can't do anything about it. I'll just go to another team and prove my worth."

Edwards, meanwhile, was beat out for a backup cornerback position by Marcus McCauley, Charles Gordon and Ronyell Whitaker. Edwards, best known for returning an interception 51 yards for a touchdown against Green Bay's Brett Favre in 2005, was expected to be the team's nickel back last season.

Edwards, however, broke his arm in the preseason finale at Dallas and spent the year on injured reserve.

"Last year I felt like they gave me an opportunity to compete for the nickel job," Edwards said. "But this year I didn't really get the feeling they really, really allowed me to compete for the nickel role. They really didn't give me the opportunity to do that. I was relegated to special teams, so I went out and worked as hard as I could."

Pinner provided a highlight last season by rushing for 125 yards and three touchdowns Dec. 10 at Detroit. But there was almost no chance for him to get on the field this season with the Vikings building their offense around tailbacks Chester Taylor and Adrian Peterson.

Agent Alan Herman said Pinner agreed with the decision. "Minnesota has two outstanding running backs," Herman said. "Drafting Adrian Peterson changed the landscape significantly. With two guys ahead of him, the best thing is to go somewhere else where he will get a great chance to play."

Etc.

• The Vikings kept 10 defensive linemen, at least one more than NFL teams typically retain. It's possible the Vikings are attempting to trade one of them, but the extra numbers also give them flexibility in the event that defensive tackle Fred Evans receives an NFL suspension.

• The Vikings can establish their nine-man practice squad today. Thigpen, receiver Martin Nance and linebacker David Herron are three candidates if they pass through waivers. Offensive lineman Seppo Evwaraye holds an exemption for the final practice squad spot.

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