|Can McLeod Bethel Thompson|
sneak his way on the practice squad, or
will the Vikings attempt to place him
on the active 53-man roster?
1. McLeod Bethel-Thompson: Bethel-Thompson displayed his strong arm throughout training camp and in the first preseason game vs. San Francisco, but can Bethel-Thompson be a viable backup in this league? That is a question that remains to be answered as we must further evaluate his performance during tomorrow's game vs. Houston. He must show that he is worth a potential roster spot or practice squad position. He will receive extended time, as he will play the entire second half.
2. Jordan Todman: With the hamstring injury Todman battled early in the season, can he squeak his way onto the roster? It depends on the Vikings plans and whether or not they are keeping three or four running backs. With the current steam floating through Winter Park, I would lean towards three running backs and a fullback on the roster. In this case, Matt Asiata likely wins the third running back job, which is unfortunate due to Todman's abilities on the field. The only way this opinion changes, is if Todman puts on a performance in tomorrow night's game.
3. Manny Arceneaux: Arceneaux will need to put on a show to make the Vikings 53-man roster. He hasn't seen an extended amount of time in the preseason, but executed when he received the opportunity vs. Buffalo. Coach Frazier stated in his latest press conference that Arceneaux, Devin Aromashodu, and Jarius Wright will all get extended "looks" on Thursday. Frazier also explained he hopes one of these four receivers will separate themselves from the pack. I would love to see Arceneaux make this roster based on his play-making ability he displayed in the CFL.
4. Allen Reisner: Resiner was impressive through the air in the last preseason game, hauling in 47 yards on four catches in the contest. Reisner could make this roster based on the time John Carlson has missed with the MCL sprain over the past three weeks. The Vikings need an insurance option just in case Carlson has trouble with the knee. The need of Reisner could diminish if the Vikings feel Carlson is fully healthy, or if another player steps up at a different position.
5. Chris DeGeare: DeGeare has been a major disappointment to the organization and many felt that with a season on the practice squad, he would develop into a decent backup guard. This definitely isn't the case, as DeGeare has a big hill to climb and he is at the bottom looking up. DeMarcus Love would have to be terrible in tomorrow's night's contest for DeGeare to have a shot to make this roster. DeGeare just hasn't looked impressive in practices and was terrible in several practices at training camp. He was very out of shape and was slow, which is something you can't have at the offensive line position.
6. Tyrone McKenzie: Many feel Tyrone McKenzie won't make the roster because of Larry Dean's presence on special teams. I don't believe this is the case because McKenzie has the ability to play backup to a potentially injured starter. Dean doesn't have the flexibility to fill-in at linebacker, which gives McKenzie the nod. McKenzie has experience in this league and has shown he is a strength in games and at practice. His ball skills and tackling are excellent for a backup in this league.
7. Reggie Jones: Jones is a cornerback that has impressed over his time at training camp. I was very impressed with his ball skills and his overall coverage abilities. He is most likely a long shot to make this roster, but will be someone to keep in eye in tomorrow night's action. Primarily due to Coach Frazier expressing interest in Jones fielding kicks and punts tomorrow evening. I don't foresee Jones making this roster solely as specialist on punts and kicks. If this is the case, Marcus Sherels will make this roster, which is sounding like more and more of a long shot.
8. Bobby Felder: Felder was one of the more surprising players at Vikings training camp this year. His speed, ball skills, and his excellent tackling are very impressive. We haven't seen Felder over an extended period of time in game situations. He did make a slight special teams impact in the first preseason game, by downing a punt inside the twenty and recording a nice tackle in space. He is a player that will have to make a major impact vs. Houston, to have a shot to make the 53-man roster, which is currently a long shot. Look for Felder to make the practice squad, as he would be a great developmental cornerback for the future.
9. Robert Blanton: Blanton has missed most of training camp and all of the preseason with a naging hamstring injury. Tomorrow night he will be making his Vikings debut as a starting safety. The Vikings drafted Blanton in the fifth round and have high hopes for him to become a starter in this league. Blanton has most likely solidified a roster spot, but will need to show the Vikings he has potential to develop. He has been highly tauted for his balls skills and his ability to make plays at Notre Dame. Now we will see if these tangibles carry over from college to the NFL.
10. Eric Frampton: Frampton has been a special teams ace for the Vikings and has been very effective over the last five seasons. Frampton is due $850,000 this season and will be very difficult to release, but will most likely get cut for a player like Robert Blanton. Frampton has done great in his time with the Vikings, but I believe it is time to head in a younger direction. Frampton has always been one of the friendliest Vikings and it definitely will be difficult to lose his presence on the team.
Overall, these ten players will have the battle of their lives, as their NFL career could hinge on one performance. They have the opportunity to live the American dream and play in the National Football League. All they needed was one opportunity and the chance is tomorrow evening vs. Houston.