Players, coaches discuss emotions of cut time

Leslie Frazier called it one of the toughest parts of his job. One of the players said he might cry if he finds out he made the team, and other bubble players talked about their thoughts heading into a weekend when about 700 players will be cut across the NFL.

Vikings running back Joe Banyard said he might cry if he gets the news he is hoping for this weekend.

With 75 players currently on the roster and at least 22 moves needing to be made by Saturday afternoon, emotions will be running hotter than the temperatures for at least two dozen players hoping to keep their status as Vikings players.

NFL rules mandate that rosters be trimmed to 53 players Saturday afternoon, but perhaps no player did as much to help his cause Thursday night as Banyard.

"I showed (the coaches) I can play," Banyard said after the preseason finale. "This is where I want to be. I love my team. I've never been as happy as I am here, so I definitely want to be here so I have to showcase that."

He did that in the Vikings' 24-23 win over the Tennessee Titans. The 5-foot-10, 205-pound running back was the team's leading rusher – carrying 13 times for 62 yards, and leading receiver, catching all seven passes thrown his way for 54 yards and a touchdown.

"I had to showcase what I can do for this team, so I did," Banyard said.

"This is what I train for every day. This is what I work my tail off for. At the end of the day, this is what I expected. Sleeping in the hotel, I can dream it so I just had to achieve it.

Banyard spent the final five weeks of the 2012 season and the playoff game on the Vikings practice squad.

This preseason, he has 26 carries for 123 yards (4.7-yard average) and a touchdown and nine catches for 63 yards and a touchdown.

What if that's enough to earn a promotion to the 53-man roster this year?

"I really might cry. I will definitely have to thank the good Lord, and then I'll just cry because I know this is where I want to be," he said.

Rookie guard Jeff Baca was another player singled out by head coach Leslie Frazier as having a good night. He played extensively as the Vikings held out their entire starting offensive line.

He is clearly on the roster bubble but made a case that he should at least be given serious consideration, if not for the 53-man roster then for the eight-man practice squad that can be developed Sunday.

CB A.J. Jefferson doesn't have practice squad eligibility and struggled at times Thursday night.

"Any time you're playing in the preseason, you've got to just play to make the team. Noboby's spot is secure so I just play like I've got to make the team every time," Jefferson said.

"I left some plays out on the field, but I feel pretty good about the team's performance. Any time you get a win you feel good about it."

Rookie receiver Adam Thielen likely doesn't have a chance at the 53-man roster, but he could be a strong consideration for a spot on the practice squad.

"I can't really worry about that. Every day I went out there with the same goal in mind: to show the coaches what I've got and get better every day. I feel like I've gotten a lot better and that's all I can ask for," Thielen said.

"It has been awesome, I couldn't have asked for a better situation. Great teammates. They make the game so much fun and a great coaching staff. It has just been a blast being here."

The Minnesota State, Mankato product has had fans in the stands from Mankato and his hometown of Detroit Lakes cheering him on.

Frazier said the coaching staff and personnel staff will talk about roster decisions Friday but likely not make any announcements until Saturday.

"It is without question one of the toughest parts. When you sit down and realize that for a lot of the guys that played (Thursday) night, they will probably never wear an NFL uniform again and we have to sit down and discuss who those guys might be," Frazier said. "When you sit down with them on that Saturday, or Friday, they come by the office and you explain to them their career in Minnesota for sure is going to be over, and there's a possibility it may be over for good, it can get emotional."

Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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