A big game Thursday did not save the running back, while the Vikings elected to go young with their backup QBs.
Jordan Todman stood in the visiting locker room of Houston's Reliant Stadium late Thursday not knowing how to feel. The 22-year-old Vikings running back acknowledged his restlessness.
On the one hand, he had just finished an impressive night in the Vikings' preseason finale, totaling 135 yards from scrimmage on 15 touches against the Texans.
But with Friday's cutdown deadline looming, Todman also knew his eye-catching performance might have come too late -- after a nagging ankle sprain had kept him sidelined for much of training camp.
So Todman rode that distressing NFL teeter-totter between satisfaction and total anxiety.
"I'm sure waking up in the morning is going to be dreadful for a lot of us guys," he said. "You just pray and you hope for the best."
On Friday, however, Todman received official word that he had been waived as the Vikings cut their roster to 53 players.
In all, 20 players were let go. The major surprises were the releases of veteran quarterback Sage Rosenfels and cornerback Chris Carr. Manny Arceneaux was also waived, the only receiver let go.
And late Friday, word surfaced that the Vikings traded with the Arizona Cardinals for third-year cornerback A.J. Jefferson, meaning another cut was imminent.
Rosenfels' exit will give the Vikings a chance to take a much longer look at rocket- armed 24-year-old quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson. Terminating Rosenfels' vested veteran contract will be expensive -- he was guaranteed $500,000 in base salary when he re-signed in March. It also means -- at least for now -- that the Vikings will have to go without a veteran presence in their quarterback stable, with the trio of Christian Ponder, Joe Webb and Bethel-Thompson having an average age of 25.
For those wondering if Rosenfels' veteran presence will be sorely missed as Ponder and Webb continue developing, it's worth noting they still have quarterbacks coach Craig Johnson and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, a quarterback guru himself, to mentor them daily.
The Vikings' secondary make-up will be interesting to monitor following Friday's cuts. Carr wasn't stellar during the preseason by any stretch of the imagination. But he had opened training camp as the team's third corner in nickel packages, started the third preseason game in place of Chris Cook and had drawn raves from coaches for his ability to play outside and in the slot.
Instead, the Vikings kept six cornerbacks ahead of him, with Marcus Sherels and Zack Bowman kept around for their special teams abilities and Brandon Burton, a 2011 draft pick, having more long-term upside.
Jefferson, who went undrafted in 2010 out of Fresno State, could be an intriguing addition as well. He started seven games last season for Arizona and has good size (6-1, 190 pounds) and length. But he has struggled and is in need of further development.
For Todman, Thursday's outburst coming against a corps of Houston reserves wasn't enough to offset all the time he missed with that ankle injury. Instead, for now, the Vikings will give Matt Asiata their No. 3 running back role, hoping he can step in during the regular season and continue to show the burst he uncorked during the preseason, rushing for 143 yards on 23 attempts.
Asiata's emergence also allowed the Vikings to cut Lex Hilliard, a fifth-year veteran they signed in free agency last spring.
As for Arceneaux, the Vikings hoped he would have a breakthrough this training camp, and receivers coach George Stewart had even singled out his rapid development, noting the young receiver's improved route running and dedication to blocking.
But Arceneaux caught only five passes for 88 yards during four preseason games, doing nothing to separate himself.
Instead, he lost a battle with Stephen Burton for the final receiver opening, though the Vikings may hope to continue working with Arceneaux on their practice squad.
The Vikings will assemble and announce that eight-man unit Saturday.
The team also figures to be active in scouring the waiver wire with more than 700 players cut Friday leaguewide. The Vikings face their biggest depth concerns at linebacker, receiver and offensive tackle and will look to see what help might be available.
|Chicago Cubs - LP: E. Jackson||2||FINAL|
|Pittsburgh - WP: V. Mazzaro||4|
|Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman||6||FINAL|
|Toronto - WP: B. Morrow||12|
|Cleveland - WP: Z. McAllister||12||FINAL|
|Boston - LP: R. Dempster||3|
|Minnesota - LP: J. Burton||6||FINAL|
|Detroit - WP: J. Benoit||7|
|LA Angels - WP: J. Blanton||5||FINAL|
|Kansas City - LP: E. Santana||4|
|San Jose||0||3rd Prd 19:07|
|Aug 9 - vs. Houston||7 pm|
|Aug 16 - at Buffalo||6 pm|
|Aug 25 - at San Francisco||7 pm|
|Aug 29 - vs. Tennessee||7 pm|
|2013 regular season|
|Sep 8 - at Detroit||Noon|
|Sep 15 - at Chicago||Noon|
|Sep 22 - vs. Cleveland||Noon|
|Sep 29 - vs. Pittsburgh (in London)||Noon|
|Oct 6 - Bye|
|Oct 13 - vs. Carolina||Noon|
|Oct 21 - at. NY Giants||7:40 pm|
|Oct 27 - vs. Green Bay||7:30 pm|
|Nov 3 - at Dallas||Noon|
|Nov 7 - vs. Washington||7:25 pm|
|Nov 17 - at Seattle||3:25 pm|
|Nov. 24 - at Green Bay||Noon|
|Dec 1 - vs. Chicago||Noon|
|Dec 8 - at Baltimore||Noon|
|Dec 15 - vs. Philadelphia||Noon|
|Dec 22 - at Cincinnati||Noon|
|Dec 29 - vs. Detroit||Noon|