Page 2 of 2 Previous

Continued: Vikings Insider: It's time for some roster roulette

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Last update: August 28, 2012 - 6:47 AM

And the cuts will keep coming ...

The Vikings trimmed their roster from 90 players to 75 Saturday with no surprise casualties. But by Friday, at least 22 more players will be gone as the organization assembles its 53-man roster.

With that in mind, we explore three questions General Manager Rick Spielman and coach Leslie Frazier will be sorting through before then.

How many players from the 10-man 2012 draft class will stick around?

Receiver Greg Childs, one of three players taken in the fourth round, will spend the season on injured reserve after injuring both knees in a training camp scrimmage. As for the other nine drafted rookies? First-rounders Matt Kalil and Harrison Smith will be opening-day starters. Josh Robinson, Jarius Wright, Rhett Ellison and Blair Walsh are also locks to make the roster. So that leaves safety Robert Blanton, linebacker Audie Cole and defensive tackle Trevor Guyton sweating things out.

Blanton, a fifth-round pick, hasn't played in three preseason games but will see extensive action Thursday in Houston. The Vikings certainly wish he was further along in his development but are also highly unlikely to do anything rash with a promising player who they're putting through a conversion from cornerback to safety. He's as good as safe.

Cole's solid preseason, including two interception return touchdowns against Buffalo, gives him a better chance to make the team. If the Vikings keep six linebackers, the final two spots may come down to Cole, Tyrone McKenzie and Larry Dean, with a game of musical chairs ensuing this week.

Guyton struggled to adapt to the speed of the NFL, doesn't really project as a nose tackle and instead finds himself behind Christian Ballard in the quest to supply depth behind Kevin Williams at under tackle. Guyton could be the lone drafted rookie to get cut Friday.

It's also worth noting that seven undrafted rookies survived the first cut -- most notably cornerback Bobby Felder, who could, at the very least, find his way onto the practice squad.

What are the biggest questions in the secondary?

This will become a numbers game for Spielman and Frazier, who might be tempted to retain as many as 11 defensive backs. No one at Winter Park has forgotten the attrition of 2011 when starters Antoine Winfield, Chris Cook and Husain Abdullah, plus Tyrell Johnson, were all lost for the season at some point. That left the Vikings to hold the secondary together with chicken wire and bubble gum. (Remember those desperation acquisitions of Benny Sapp and Jarrad Page? Remember that starting cornerback trio of Asher Allen, Marcus Sherels and Brandon Burton on Christmas Eve?)

In a pass-happy division, the Vikings can ill afford to be caught too thin in the defensive backfield.

Defensive coordinator Alan Williams was asked how many defensive backs he'd like to keep.

"Twenty," he joked before later adding, "with this being a passing league, you can never have too many."

If the Vikings opt to keep five safeties, Andrew Sendejo and Eric Frampton will be in a battle to be the final safety to join Harrison Smith, Jamarca Sanford, Mistral Raymond and Blanton.

The conversation will be a bit complicated at corner. The top four there are Winfield, Cook, Chris Carr and Robinson. Veteran Zack Bowman might also be kept around given his experience and special teams value. But then that leaves a heated competition among Sherels, Burton, Reggie Jones and Felder for one or possibly two roster spots.

Sherels' reliability as a punt returner would be his ticket to sticking around. The Vikings are yet to feel secure with other options there.

"I'm not ready to throw Marcus away," special teams coach Mike Priefer said.

In the Vikings' quest to make significant strides forward, the assurance of quality secondary depth might be the second-most important piece of the puzzle behind only Christian Ponder's second year growth.

Who will be the Vikings' No. 3 running back? And does it really matter?

Let's face it, rebuilding projects aren't typically boosted much by a team's third running back. But in the Vikings' case, when it's still a major unknown how explosive top back Adrian Peterson can be in 2012, that depth in the running back stable takes on far greater importance.

So who will join Peterson and Toby Gerhart on the opening day roster? When training camp began, it seemed to be a race between Lex Hilliard and Jordan Todman. But Hilliard hasn't stood out and hurt his cause Friday by losing a fumble on one of his two carries. And Todman, because of a lingering ankle sprain, has missed a lot of practice time and has only two carries in three preseason games.

That's opened the door for Matt Asiata, who's more of a fullback but has rushed for 91 yards on 16 carries the past two games.

Todman, as healthy as he's been since training camp began, should see extensive action in Houston.

But on Sunday, Frazier also hinted the Vikings will be keeping a "Help Wanted" sign posted, potentially looking to scour the waiver wire for another backfield option.

"We'll see what happens on Thursday night," Frazier said.

"Hopefully somebody will take the bull by the horns and really separate themselves and say, 'This is my position. This is my job on this football team.'"

Dan Wiederer • dan.wiederer@startribune.com

  • related content

  • Video: Access Vikings: Who will make the team?

    Wednesday August 29, 2012

    Star Tribune reporters Dan Wiederer and Mark Craig discuss who the Vikings should keep on their 53-man roster.

  • Peterson sees first contact in practice

    Monday August 27, 2012

    Vikings running back takes another step in his recovery from knee surgery

  • Souhan: Vikings making a big mistake

    Monday August 27, 2012

    Vikings shouldn't rest their starters for this week's final preseason game against Houston.

  • The ability to return punts gives cornerback Marcus Sherels (35) an edge in keeping a roster spot.

  • VIKINGS PRESEASON

    Up next: 6 p.m. Thursday at

    Houston • TV: Ch. 11

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Chicago 17 FINAL
Detroit 34
Philadelphia 33 FINAL
Dallas 10
Seattle 19 FINAL
San Francisco 3
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
Atlanta
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Edmonton 0 FINAL(OT)
Nashville 1
ULM 54 FINAL
Robert Morris 71
Santa Clara 57 FINAL
Tennessee 64
Oklahoma 59 FINAL
Butler 46
Austin Peay 79 FINAL
Brown 58
Princeton 56 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 62
Coastal Carolina 67 FINAL
Chattanooga 78
Kansas 76 FINAL
Rhode Island 60
Wisconsin 68 FINAL
Georgetown 65
FIU 53 FINAL
USC Upstate 68
Long Island 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 73
San Diego 71 FINAL
Xavier 82
Illinois 88 FINAL
Indiana State 62
Cal State Fullerton 67 FINAL
Wright State 62
Western Ky 62 FINAL
Saint Josephs 59
Michigan State 77 FINAL
Rider 45
UCLA 56 FINAL
North Carolina 78
Long Beach State 73 FINAL
Western Mich 55
Marquette 72 FINAL
Georgia Tech 70
Stephen F Austin 73 FINAL
Prairie View 61
UAB 47 FINAL
Florida 56
Rice 71 FINAL
Mercer 77
San Jose St 56 FINAL
Washington 78
Washington St 43 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 71
Baylor 71 FINAL
Memphis 47
LSU 23 FINAL
Texas A&M 17
(6) TCU 48 FINAL
Texas 10
Northern Ill 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11:00 AM
Iowa
Western Ky 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11:00 AM
SMU
Akron 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 7:30 PM
Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UNLV
UCF 12/4/14 6:30 PM
East Carolina
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Calgary
Hartford 43 FINAL
Furman 53
Clemson 77 FINAL
Ohio State 86
Idaho State 53 FINAL
San Diego State 68
East Carolina 58 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 69
Santa Clara 0 Cancelled
Texas-El Paso 0
Florida State 68 FINAL
Washington 80
Wichita State 39 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 56
Wisconsin 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 67
Kansas State 0 Cancelled
LSU 0
BYU 73 FINAL
BYU-Hawaii 52
Charlotte 58 FINAL
Montana 67
Illinois 77 FINAL
(9) Kentucky 71
Central Michigan 61 FINAL
Richmond 56
Oklahoma 68 FINAL
South Florida 83
Princeton 72 FINAL
Wake Forest 55
(19) Oregon State 85 FINAL
Butler 53
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close