NFL teams are required to trim their rosters to get down to 75 players today. In order to do that, the Vikings cut 2 players, moved another to the “waived – injured” list, and placed another on the reserve/PUP list.
WR Marko Mitchell and T Bill Noethlich were waived. LB J Leman was waived – injured (reverted to injured reserve). And finally, WR Sidney Rice was placed on the reserve/PUP list.
The Vikings play on Thursday night at home against the Denver Broncos in their preseason finale and then are required to trim the roster to 53 players on September 4.
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Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress recently described his offense as “in flux” and no position represents that billing more accurately than the offensive line, specifically the C and RG positions. An injury to C John Sullivan has sidelined him for most of training camp and as a result both starting RG Anthony Herrera and backup C Jon Cooper have seen extra time in the middle of the 1st-team offensive line.
“We’re still kind of filling out that position, exactly what would be the best lineup,” Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell explained. “Is it moving Anthony (Herrera) in (at C) and putting Chris in (at RG)? Is it using Coop (Jon Cooper) and leaving Anthony at guard? Or if Sully’s (John Sullivan) even going to be back.”
With the regular season now just over a week away, the time will soon come for the Vikings to decide on a starting C for Week 1. If that choice is Cooper, a 2nd-year player who spent the first 4 weeks last season on practice squad but then was elevated the 53-man roster for the final 12 weeks, then the flux factor remains minimal. But if the Vikings decide to move Herrera to C, the flux factor is a bit more complicated.
Moving Herrera to C would slide 5th round rookie Chris DeGeare into the starting lineup. DeGeare has had a nice training camp and it’s possible he’d be a solid performer right off the bat at RG for the Vikings. But that move would take away the Vikings depth because DeGeare is currently a swing lineman capable of playing multiple positions.
“Chris has done a nice job for us,” Bevell explained. “He’s a quick learner. He’s done some good things. I think there are still things he can improve on. That would be probably the toughest environment (to make his 1st start), that game, going into New Orleans. If that is how it shakes down, then we are confident enough to go with it.
“We’ve been able to move the combinations around a little bit. It gave us an opportunity to look at some different guys and different combinations. All we can do is look on the bright side of it and see how we’ve been able to make adjustments by moving Anthony, putting Coop in and some of those other adjustments.”
Whichever lineup the Vikings go with to start the season, the good news is the team will have had plenty of reps with that individual at C. Sullivan’s injury happened early enough in camp that both Cooper and Herrera have spent significant time working with the 1st team at C.
Ultimately, the ideal outcome is for Sullivan to make it back healthy in time for Week 1. If he can’t, someone will have to step up along the offensive line in Week 1.
Tags: Anthony Herrera, Chris DeGeare, John Sullivan, Jon Cooper
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 12 Comments »
Since the beginning of training camp the Vikings were certain that they would have 3 QBs to help the team prepare for its 50th season. But now after Brett Favre’s return there’s been a wealth of speculation on what the organization is going to do with its group of backup QBs.
The answer to that question: Nobody knows.
It may even be the case that the Vikings coaches and executives haven’t made a decision yet. The coaching staff will have to cut the roster down to 75 players on Tuesday but the 3 backup QBs will more than likely stay on board to see playing time this Thursday night against the Denver Broncos in the final preseason game at Mall of America Field. The final 53-man roster will be determined on Saturday.
We’ll curb any speculation as to how this scenario will pan out, but with that in mind, each QB has shown their worth to this team throughout the preseason workouts and during the first 3 preseason games.
Here’s what we’ve seen from each backup QB to this point:
As was the case last season, Tarvaris Jackson has spent the preseason as Favre’s backup and earned that role by way of his continued improvement over recent years. In 2007, Jackson guided the Vikings offense to the #13 ranking in the NFL, a jump from #23 in 2006. He was also a key factor to the Purple’s 5-game winning streak toward the end of the season. The 5-year veteran furthered his progression in 2008 by helping the team win 2 of its last 3 games to claim the NFC North title. Week 15 saw #7 throw for 4 TDs while posting a career-best 135.5 passer rating.
During the course of the preseason, Jackson has completed 10 of 18 passes for 58 yards. He has also rushed for 23 yards on 3 attempts with a long of 14 yards. Jackson started the Vikings 1st preseason game against the St. Louis Rams and has backed up Favre for the last 2 games, which may be an indication that he will retain the #2 QB role, but again, that decision has yet to be made. Head coach Brad Childress has mentioned that he’s been impressed with Jackson’s growth and ‘evolution’ during preseason practices.
After his acquisition by the Vikings prior to the 2009 season, Sage Rosenfels has spent his career in purple as the #3 QB. That has continued to be the situation throughout the preseason as Rosenfels has thrown for 392 yards and 4 TDs with a 63.8 completion percentage (30-for-47). The difference this season is that the 10-year veteran seems to have found a higher comfort level under center as a Vikings QB. He’s shown great poise and passing accuracy this preseason.
In what seems to be the wild card in this whole state of affair is the raw athletic ability of rookie QB Joe Webb. Webb was selected by the Vikings in the 6th round (199th overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft and ever since his inception to the organization he’s continued to provide the team with a multitude of options. He began rookie minicamp as a WR but the coaching staff felt it was best suited for the former Blazer to return to his natural position under center. The 1st-year QB was the 1st QB in NCAA history to pass for 2,000+ yards and rush for 1,000+ yards in back-to-back seasons and that ability has seemingly translated to the NFL. Webb has made plays this preseason with his arm and his legs, completing 12 of 21 passes (57.1%) for 91 yards and 2 TDs while rushing the football 7 times for 78 yards and a TD. Webb’s rushing TD came on a 48-yard sprint down the middle of the field where he outran the entire San Francisco 49er defense.
Thursday night’s final preseason game may sway the Vikings coaching staff in one way or another to make a decision, but until Saturday, any guess on which backup QBs will make the final roster is as good as another.
Tags: Joe Webb, Sage Rosenfels
Posted in All, CJ Siewert | 104 Comments »