Saturday, September 1, 2012

Vikings 53-Man Roster Cut Analysis

The Vikings trimmed their 53-man roster
by the Friday 8 p.m. deadline.
Today on Vikings Corner, we will analyze the decisions the Vikings made to complete the 53-man roster last night.

Quarterbacks: Christian Ponder, Joe Webb, McLeod Bethel Thompson (3)

Thoughts: The Vikings decided to part ways with veteran Sage Rosenfels in order to make room for McLeod Bethel-Thompson on the 53-man roster. This move makes the Vikings roster even younger by removing 34 year old Rosenfels from the team. In my previous post I had expressed thoughts on releasing Joe Webb in order to make room for Bethel-Thompson. I thought for sure the Vikings would want to keep a veteran like Rosenfels to mentor both Ponder and Bethel-Thompson. Overall, I think the Vikings love Joe Webb and his ability to make plays on the run. I do like the idea of the Vikings getting younger as much a possible, but if Ponder becomes injured this could be a major issue.

Running Backs/Fullbacks: Adrian Peterson, Toby Gerhart, Matt Asiata, Jerome Felton (4)

Thoughts: The Vikings decided to keep Jerome Felton at fullback, rather than rolling with four running backs this season. Jordan Todman made that decision very difficult for the coaching staff, but the injuries and missed time throughout training camp cost him his job. If Todman clears waviers he likely has a spot on the Vikings practice squad. I'm glad Matt Asiata made the roster, as I like the way he runs the ball. He gets tough yardage, but has a burst when he gets through the line of scrimmage.

Wide Receivers: Percy Harvin, Stephen Burton, Jarius Wright, Michael Jenkins, Devin Aromashodu, Jerome Simpson (Suspensiom-doesn't count against 53) (5)

Thoughts: The Vikings decided to keep 5 wide receivers, which will become six after Jerome Simpson returns from his 3-game suspension. I'm glad Devin Aromashodu made the roster after his excellent performance on Thursday night. He not only brings pass catching abilities, but is a veteran leader for this position group. Manny Arceneaux was released, but winds around the league indicate he will be a practice squad candidate if he isn't claimed on waivers. As a whole, I love this group of receivers because Harvin brings versatility, Burton has speed and size, Wright can be a slot and vertical threat, Jenkins and Aromashodu are sure handed veterans, and Jerome Simpson has the best athleticism out of the whole group.

Tight Ends: Kyle Rudolph, John Carlson, Rhett Ellison, Allen Reisner (4)

Thoughts: The Vikings decided to keep four tight ends by leaving Allen Reisner on the active 53-man roster. I like Reisner with his nice hands and his abilities in the trenches on run blocking. Tight End will be one of the strengths of this roster during this season. Kyle Rudolph and John Carlson will be a nice "one-two" punch in the redzone. Rhett Ellison is a great blocking tight end and has great hands in the flat and seam areas of the field. With the excellent personnel we have at this position, look for the Vikings to untlize many formations featuring the tight ends.

Offensive Line: Matt Kalil, Charlie Johnson, John Sullivan, Brandon Fusco, Phil Loadholt, Joe Berger, Geoff Schwartz, Pat Brown (8)

Thoughts: This position group is far from solidified as the Vikings have sparse depth behind the main group of starters. Joe Berger and Geoff Schwartz bring flexibility to the offensive line by playing multiple positions. Pat Brown isn't a legitimate option as a backup and won't be on this roster if the Vikings can claim a decent backup on waivers. Look for this position to be addressed sometime today to help improve depth behind the Minnesota Moving Company.

Defensive Line: Brian Robison, Kevin Williams, Letroy Guion, Jared Allen, D'Aundre Reed, Christian Ballard, Fred Evans, Everson Griffen (8)

Thoughts: I like the decisions the Vikings made with this position group. Many were surprised 7th round draft pick Trevor Guyton was released, but he did have the tendency to blend in at practice. There wasn't a single practice where Guyton made himself known on the defensive line. Out starters are very solid and I love the flexibility we have with our backups. D'Aundre Reed had a great training camp, Christian Ballard bulked up in the offseason, Fred Evans is always reliable as a backup run-stuffer, and Everson Griffen we have flexibility to play both defensive end and in the middle on passing situations.

Linebackers: Chad Greenway, Jasper Brinkley, Erin Henderson, Marvin Mitchell, Tyrone McKenzie, Audie Cole, Larry Dean (7)

Thoughts: I was very surprised to see the Vikings keep seven linebacker because my initial thoughts were only projecting six. The Vikings wanted to keep Larry Dean on the roster for his special teams value. I was disappointed in the decision because Dean wasn't as impressive in training camp and was quite ineffective in Thursday night's game vs. Houston. I love the Vikings starters especially with Jasper Brinkley's emergence as a starting middle linebacker. Marvin Mitchell was a great addition as a backup along with Tyrone McKenzie. Both have experience as players in this league and will be effective from a special teams standpoint. Audie Cole made the roster and will make an impact for seasons to come. He will get extended time on special teams this season and will have time to potentially develop into a better linebacker.

Cornerbacks: Antoine Winfield, Chris Cook, Josh Robinson, Brandon Burton, Zack Bowman, Marcus Sherels (6)

**Sources say the Vikings have traded for Arizona Cardinals cornerback A.J. Jefferson. No compensation has been announced and the trade hasn't been formally announced by the Vikings organization.

Thoughts: The starters are solid including Antoine Winfield and Chris Cook, look for newly acquired cornerback A.J. Jefferson to become the nickel cornerback, with Josh Robinson being the backup. The key question is who will be released of the current cornerbacks to make room for Jefferson on the 53-man roster. Look for Marcus Sherels or Brandon Burton to be the odd man out, as Zack Bowman has too much expreience in this league. Many questioned why Chris Carr was released, but everything makes since now that the Vikings traded for A.J. Jefferson. I like this position group especially with the addition of A.J. Jefferson to the cornerbacks.

Safety: Harrison Smith, Mistral Raymond, Jamarca Sanford, Robert Blanton, Andrew Sendejo (5)

Thoughts: Harrison Smith brings excellent physicality to the position, paired with Mistral Raymond's abilities in run support. Jamarca Sanford will make a nice impact on special teams, along with Andrew Sendejo, who made the 53-man roster. Many felt Sendejo wouldn't make the roster and would be a nice practice squad opition, but chances are he would have been snatched on waivers in the process. In addition, look for Robert Blanton to be an option for the Vikings as a starter, if Mistral Raymond struggles. Blanton looked impressive on Thursday night, being very effective in run support and pass coverage.

Specialists: Blair Walsh, Chris Kluwe, Cullen Loeffler (3)

Thoughts: Absolultley no surprises with this group of specialists. Blair Walsh brings a big leg and will be rather effective on kickoffs. The only concern will be if Walsh can make field goals on a consistent basis. He has missed several field goals he should have made in the preseason, but many of those were attributed to Cullen Loeffler's poor long snapping. This needs to get resolved so Walsh can become consistent and can develop continuity with Loeffler and Kluwe. Chris Kluwe has been as effective as he has been in the past and is great at pinning teams deep along their own goal line.

Overall, I'm pleased with the decisions the Vikings made and I look forward to seeing if the Vikings placed any waiver claims at the 11 a.m. deadline this morning. At that time, the practice squad will also be announced by the Vikings.

We will keep you posted with the latest information taking place today!

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