A day after the Vikings beat the Dallas Cowboys 28-14, the team made its first round of roster cuts. There were no surprises Sunday evening when the Vikings announced the cuts, but there were some notable names.
Running back Joe Banyard, who sealed Saturday’s win with a late rushing touchdown, was among the cuts. So was tight end Brandon Bostick, whose botched recovery attempt of an onside kick doomed the Green Bay Packers in last year’s playoffs. Speedy veteran cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke was let go, too.
The Vikings also cut cornerbacks Jalil Carter and Justin Coleman, wide receivers DaVaris Daniels and Jordan Leslie, offensive tackle Stephen Goodin, linebacker Josh Kaddu and defensive linemen Chrishon Rose and Caesar Rayford.
The Vikings now have 78 players on their active roster and must get to 75 by Tuesday’s NFL deadline at 3 p.m. They can take care of one of those cuts by officially placing offensive tackle Carter Bykowski, who had surgery to repair a torn pectoral two weeks ago, on injured reserve.
The Vikings play the Tennessee Titans in Nashville in their preseason finale Thursday night. They then must trim their roster to 53 players by 3 p.m. Saturday.
More time for Captain
Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn played 21 snaps against the Cowboys, his most active night of the preseason. Those snaps included time with the first-team nickel defense.
“I played pretty good,” he said. “It felt good to be back out there with my guys. It’s just exciting to be out there competing. I’m a competitor, and I want to be out there.”
Munnerlyn, who watched rookie Trae Waynes take nickel reps from him earlier in the preseason, made a nice play to tackle Cowboys wide receiver Cole Beasley short of a first down on a third-down play, and his tight coverage of Cowboys tight end Gavin Escobar led to an incompletion on another.
But Munnerlyn did get flagged for holding on one third-and-13 play, giving the Cowboys a first down.
“The penalty I didn’t really like, but for the most part I thought he did well,” coach Mike Zimmer said.
In Saturday night’s win, the Vikings prevented the Cowboys from moving the sticks on all 10 of their third-down plays. They got a stop on fourth down, too.
“It says a lot,” said Gerald Hodges, who got the start at middle linebacker. “It says a lot about the defense, and it says a lot about Coach Zimmer, his defensive strategy. … [It’s a good thing] when starters come out and other guys go in and you are still able to maintain the defensive stops.”
Unfortunately, the Cowboys offense wasn’t alone in being shut out on third down Saturday night. The Vikings did not convert on any of their 11 third-down opportunities.
Defensive tackle Chigbo Anunoby has benefited from the absence of nose tackle Shamar Stephen, who is out until the regular season with a knee injury. Anunoby, who has been getting second-teams reps in practice, played 22 snaps against the Cowboys.
“Just an opportunity to go out there and play and be able to showcase myself,” he said. “I got a lot of time today, that I wasn’t really expecting.”