Three takeaways from the Vikings-Rams game
1. Joel Stave is not ready to be trusted as the top backup to Shaun Hill.
Before the undrafted rookie started against the Los Angeles Rams, General Manager Rick Spielman told reporters that he hoped to bring in another QB ASAP. It was not entirely his fault, but Stave probably did nothing to convince Spielman to change his mind. Stave was sacked twice, hit on five other dropbacks and got tested for a concussion before a hand injury knocked him out of the 27-25 win. Some of those plays were unsalvageable and he did well to just chuck the ball out of bounds. But there were at least a couple of occasions where Stave did not deal well with pressure, leading to hard hits and incomplete passes. Stave has shown enough to earn a spot on the practice squad. But the Vikings cannot feel good about the prospect of having him as the No. 2 behind Hill in Week 1.
2. Some good defensive linemen are not going to make the 53-man roster.
Over the past three years, Spielman and coach Mike Zimmer have put together the best defensive line group in the NFC North. With defensive tackle Shamar Stephen healthy and back in the mix and defensive end Justin Trattou having a strong preseason, the Vikings go eight deep up front. So there simply will not be room for some pretty good young linemen. The Vikings already have parted ways with ends Zach Moore and Denzell Perine and tackle Travis Raciti. Moore had a sack against the Rams and Raciti got involved in two of them. Defensive tackle Toby Johnson and end Stephen Weatherly, a seventh-round pick who had 1.5 sacks Thursday, remain in limbo before Saturday’s final roster cut deadline. If there is no room for them there, they definitely should be practice-squad candidates.
3. The Vikings probably can stash a promising back on the practice squad.
With running backs Adrian Peterson and Jerick McKinnon around and trusty, do-it-all veteran Matt Asiata expected to stick around, there probably isn’t room for the Vikings to keep C.J. Ham or Jhurell Pressley on the 53-man roster. But both rookie backs put good things on tape Thursday night. Pressley was the one dominating the highlights, with a 28-yard touchdown reception and a long kickoff return TD. But Ham looked better running the ball, plugging away for 59 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. There is a chance a RB-needy team could grab one of them if the Vikings waive them before Saturday’s 3 p.m. deadline for final roster cuts. But they probably will be able to stash one of them on their practice squad in the event that one of their top backs gets injured.