With so much attention paid to position battles during training camp and then the declaration of a 53-man roster following the conclusion of preseason games, it’s easy to welcome in a sense of finality at this time of year.
But whether you’re talking about moves made with regard to the 53-man roster or with the 8-member practice squad, that feeling of finality is foolish. And Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress made that point clear while meeting with reporters at Winter Park on Monday.
“You still want to see how people practice,” Childress said. “It’s still about guys having a good practice week. There are a number of those eight guys that are going to be inactive that you still want to continue to give you great looks. You can remember Madieu separated a shoulder on a Wednesday last year. Guys go up, guys go down. Guys get the flu. All those guys have to be up and whoever is giving the best accounting of himself is usually the guy you put up.”
Childress explained that development still occurs with players who are put on the practice squad.
“I think the thing that’s interesting about that with your practice squad guys is you still, even though at times they’re going to run (plays) off of cards, the concepts of football are the same,” Childress said. “Whether you’re pass protecting or throwing the football off of cards. Somewhere it has something to do with a play that we have. Where we can, we call the play that we have so we can watch our offense execute it. So we look at all of those snaps just exactly the same as we look at our guys that are preparing for the game, even though we’d be throwing against our defense.”
Ultimately, the Vikings head coach had no illusions that there will be players who don’t suit up on game day and that those players will be disappointed. But just as sure as they’ll be disappointed when they’re inactive, at some point down the line they’ll be asked to step up.
“I know last year we had the ‘woe is me’ with the eight guys that were down (on game days),” Childress explained. “The fact of life is that there’s going to be eight guys down, there’s going to be forty-five guys up and that’s the next decision that you come to. All of those guys (practice squad members) are viable members of the team and at some point in time they’ll be called on to have to contribute.”
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