The Vikings downsized their roster Monday in an effort to meet the NFL’s first deadline of player cuts.
The team released 13 players and waived one with an injury, getting the roster to 76 players. They have to be at 75 by 3 p.m. Tuesday.
Safety Brandan Bishop, defensive tackle Kheeston Randall, tight end Kory Sperry, offensive tackles Kevin Murphy and Pierce Burton, cornerbacks Derek Cox and Robert Steeples, defensive ends Tyler Scott and Jake Snyder, and wide receivers Andy Cruse, Kamar Jorden, Erik Lora and Ty Walker were all released. Safety Mistral Raymond (hamstring) was waived with an injury.
When asked if the final move could come in a trade before Thursday’s game at Tennessee, coach Mike Zimmer said the team is exploring all options.
“Some of it was the game this week,” Zimmer said of the extra body. “It’s a short week, the injuries that we have, [we’re] trying to figure out exactly who we need to have for the game. And we’re always looking for the possibility of trades, possibility of getting more players in here.”
Tight end Chase Ford was activated off the physically unable to perform list and participated in his first practice since minicamp after missing all of training camp and three preseason games because of a broken left foot.
“It feels real good to be back,” Ford said.
It was Zimmer’s first chance to see Ford in pads. Zimmer said Ford has been fully cleared based on the rehab reports.
“We’ll have to see what kind of condition he is in, his recall for the plays,” Zimmer said. “He’s been out here and watching but that doesn’t mean that he knows the plays and being able to execute them and what kind of blocking he does. These next 13 days will be important for him.”
Ford is competing with Rhett Ellison, Mike Higgins and Allen Reisner for the backup and third tight end positions heading into the final preseason game against the Titans. Reisner had two touchdown catches Saturday against the Chiefs and has three in the preseason, all from rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
“This next game is going to be huge for the depth that we have at tight end to improve, get better and show that I can be an asset to the team,” Reisner said.
The Vikings had 11 players either sidelined because of injury or absent from practice Monday. Receiver Rodney Smith, offensive tackle Phil Loadholt (ankle), defensive tackle Fred Evans, nose tackle Linval Joseph (leg), linebacker Gerald Hodges (knee), cornerback Jabari Price and safety Jamarca Sanford (quad) did not participate.
Joseph, Hodges and Price all worked on conditioning during the start of practice. While his injury is unknown, Smith landed awkwardly on his neck recovering an onside kick late against the Chiefs.
Linebacker Anthony Barr, safety Chris Crocker, and linebackers Michael Mauti and Brandon Watts were not present at practice.
The Vikings announced a partnership with TRIA Orthopaedic Center to provide certified athletic training coverage for 13 high school football programs in the Minneapolis and St. Paul school districts this season.
The program will be funded by a grant from the NFL and a matching donation from the team of $50,000 for nearly 600 football players. TRIA will assist the teams during camps, practices and games by conducting concussion tests and offering ACL prevention programs. Total Luxury Limousine will also provide medical transportation for any required physician visits.
“This grant is great because it’s going to help kids, and it’s going to help prevent football players from suffering injuries,” said Eric Sugarman, the Vikings’ director of sports medicine and head athletic trainer.