For 15 players currently on the Vikings roster, it’s going to be their last hurrah.
On Tuesday, the Vikings are going to cut their roster from 90 to 75 players. When the list is announced, the vast majority of Vikings fans – hard-core or passive – will likely utter a collective “who?”
That’s the harsh reality of the NFL. Players may have been their hometown heroes since their junior high school days, but their football dreams are going to die Tuesday.
There aren’t going to be many big names on the list when it is released late Tuesday afternoon (or sooner), but, for most of the names on it, it may be the last ride for their NFL dreams.
Unlike the final cuts Aug. 30, when several players will be claimed by other teams and more than 300 players will be re-signed to practice squads, the players who get cut Tuesday aren’t likely to get claimed by another team. For those players who have been keeping their football dreams alive since spring, going through OTAs, minicamps, training camp and the preseason, their releases Tuesday will be the end of their professional careers for many of them.
A lot of head coaches call the process of releasing players the worst part of their jobs. Tuesday will be the first time Mike Zimmer has to go through the process of informing players that they don’t fit into the team’s plans. Whether it will be a tortuous process or just another day at the office is unknown, but it will be a hard time for those players who have kept their fingers crossed in hopes of making enough of an impression on the coaching staff to keep their names off the cut list.
For 15 Vikings players, the end of the line comes Tuesday, along with almost 500 other players league-wide. Whether they take a moment to soak in what they’ve been through and how big the NFL is or not, they have pushed themselves as far as a possible to keep their hopes and dream alive.
For a lot of fans, when the starters leave the game at halftime or early in the third quarter, so will the interest those fans have in watching what remains of the second half. But for those players who will be on the field in the fourth quarter, for many of them it will be the last time – making the second half of tonight’s game a lot more meaningful than it might appear at face value.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.