Sunday, September 2, 2012

Vikings Roster Shuffling Continues

A.J. Jefferson is just one of several
additions to the Vikings active and
inactive rosters.
The Minnesota Vikings wasted no time in shuffling their roster to prepare for the 2012 season. The Vikings made several corresponding roster moves, as well as beginning the formulation of a practice squad. A.J. Jefferson was officially traded to the Vikings for an undisclosed 2013 draft pick. This pick will be based on Jefferson participation and success during the 2012 season. Jefferson brings a 6'1" 190 lbs. stature to the already athletic group of cornerbacks. Evidently the Vikings are looking for size and speed among their cornerbacks, as two of the cornerbacks are over six feet tall and four others hover near the six foot mark. This will prove postive when the Vikings match up with wide receivers in our division like Calvin Johnson, Greg Jennings, and Brandon Marshall, who have a distinct size advantage over most cornerbacks in this league.
In the process of this transaction, the Vikings waived Zack Bowman to make room for Jefferson on the active 53-man roster. This comes as a surprise to some as Bowman has five years of experience in the NFL. Once again we have witnessed that the Vikings are looking to get younger at all positions, in hopes of building this team from top to bottom. 40 of the 53 players on the Vikings roster are 27 years or younger, which is something the Vikings needed to do in order to be successful.

The Vikings also made a waiver transaction yesterday by adding offensive lineman Mark Asper to the active 53-man roster. He brings major size with a 6'7" 328 lbs. frame, which poses a big bodied presence to the second string offensive line. Asper attended Oregon where he primarily was a right guard, but received experience at center, along with tackle in high school. Asper is a great addition as he brings size and versatility to a once poor group of Vikings backup offensive lineman.

In order to make room for Asper on the 53-man roster, the Vikings released offensive tackle Patrick Brown. Pat was a member of the Vikings for 3 seasons and showed upside over his two seasons, but struggled in training camp and during the preseason. This is disappointing as the Vikings hope with Brown's past experience he would be able to provide versatility as a backup.

The Vikings also formulated a group of four officially announced players on their practice squad. All of these players were a part of the Vikings original 90 man roster. Guard Tylers Holmes, formally of Tulsa University was the first member. Holmes has loads of potential and has nice size for a pulling guard. Look for Holmes to be groomed into a potential backup of the future. Defensive tackle Chase Baker, former Boise State Bronco, made his presence known in the middle of the defense during the preseason. He proved to be a great run stuffer and was a legitimate pass rusher up the middle. Cornerback Bobby Felder, who was impressive in Vikings training camp will be developed into a great cornerback after he fills his time on the Vikings practice squad. More importantly, the Vikings were able to retain Jordan Todman as a member of the Minnesota Vikings. Todman rushed for 117 yards in the last preseason game and struggled in training camp as he suffered a sprained ankle at the beginning of training camp. He will be another player who could find his way onto the roster before the season is over. If Matt Asiata doesn't pan out as a third down running back, Todman could possibly be an answer.

In unofficial news, the Vikings haven't formally announced the signings of wide receivers Tori Gurley and Chris Summers to the practice squad. I like both of these signings, as they bring size and athleticism options to the Vikings inactive roster. Gurley comes in at 6'4" and has shown his athleticism in a stint with the Green Bay Packers, primarily on their practice squad. He made an impact in the Packers preseason finale hauling in a 54 yard reception in the first half. Look for Gurley to possibly be a part of the active 53-man roster sooner rather than later.

Summers is another big body measuring in at 6'5" 213 lbs., but all of his size comes with speed as he ran a 4.52 40-yard dash time. In fact Summers was successful in his time at Liberty University, breaking Jerome Simpson's touchdown record in the Big South Conference. Summers was formally a member of the Chicago Bears and will be a developmental option for the Vikings practice squad.

Two more spots remain unfilled and GM Rick Spielman says those spots will be announced once the two players pass their physicals. Look for these players to be a defensive lineman and an offensive lineman, as teams can't have enough bodies at these key positions.

Overall, I like the moves the Vikings made and feel like these additions will help the Vikings make developments for the future of the roster.

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