Vikings general manager Rick Spielman is ready to pull an all-nighter as NFL roster cuts are due at 8 p.m. Central Friday … and then the fun begins for Spielman and his scouting staff.
Spielman and the coaching staff had a good idea about which players would make the team's initial 53-man roster and which would be released, but they will take the opportunity to talk it over one more time Friday now that the preseason is over.
What Spielman doesn't know just yet is who will be released around the league, and that list of more than 700 players could offer a handful of intriguing prospects that the Vikings will consider putting in a waiver claim to obtain.
"Just like our (regular) process, when the coaches come in in the morning, ‘Hey, look at this guy, look at this guy,' we'll get together and we'll discuss, ‘Is this guy better than what we currently have on the roster? Does he fit what we're looking for?'" Spielman said this week, acknowledging a Friday up-all-night marathon will be in place. "Just like everything else, every player that we try to bring in, we have a pretty tedious process to get through that."
While Spielman will be making a list and checking it twice against the film and evaluations on the players placed on waivers, he knows the Vikings are in a strong position – No. 3 on the waiver wire claiming order – to be awarded some of the players they covet.
"We're going to take the same approach we've done every year. We've put in multiple claims, but because we were lower we didn't get those players," Spielman said. "Every year (during cut-down weekend) we've been pretty active putting in a claim on one or two guys and we didn't get them. In the 53 cut, we've put in claims and we've gotten some guys; some guys we haven't gotten."
The advance scouting has already been done. Spielman said assistant general manager George Paton and the team's cadre of scouts have been eyeing 25 to 30 players who could potentially be released on each NFL team and written reports on them. With teams going from 75 players on Thursday to 53 by Friday night, there will be at least 22 players released or placed on reserve lists from every team.
"We approach it the same way as the draft – this is who we have on our roster and these are the guys that are available. We have a whole process that we go through that night," Spielman said. "This year, because it's so late, we probably won't get the wire until 11:30 (Friday) night or midnight and we'll work straight through until we put our practice squad together that next day. We'll spend six hours on that waiver wire."
The timelines enforced by the NFL give teams about 12 hours from the time they receive the league's personnel notice until the time they are allowed to start forming the eight-man practice squad.
The sad reality of the deadlines means that players could make the 53-man roster Friday night and then be jettisoned quickly after a waiver claim is awarded.
Sometime Saturday, Spielman will likely find time for rest. But until then he will be navigating the various stages – submitting his own cuts, viewing approximately 700 names on the NFL list, claiming a few of those and then forming the practice squad – of a crazy period that will last about 15 hours, from sundown to sunup and beyond.
"Besides the draft and the craziness after the draft," Spielman said, "this is the craziest time we have in a year."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Spielman prepped for crazy all-nighter
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