The Minnesota Vikings started their roster moves by placing safety Jamarca Sanford on injured reserve, but it didn’t stop there. The safety position was gutted of veteran experience before the 3 p.m. Central deadline on Saturday for teams to get down to the NFL-mandated 53-man rosters.
Yahoo Sports reported that it was the short-term injured reserve list for Sanford, likely meaning he and the team disagreed with the severity of his injuries, allowing him to be paid until he is healthy and then be released. He dealt with back and quadriceps injuries throughout much of training camp and the preseason, which limited the in-game looks the new coaching staff had with him.
He took a paycut in March when he renegotiated his contract to lower his salary-cap number by $250,000, to $2.5 million with $250,000 in incentives termed “not likely to be earned” and $400,000 of his contract guaranteed. His base salary is $1.7 million, so it is believed he will be paid 1/17th of that, or $100,000, for every week he remains on injured reserve.
Since Sanford was placed on injured reserve now, he is not eligible to be on the list with the “designated to return distinction,” an exception each team has for one player on the injured reserve list to return to practice after six weeks on that list and return to game action anytime in a 21-day window after their return to practice.
Receiver Jerome Simpson doesn’t count against the 53-man roster while serving his three-game suspension, so the team had to make roster moves with at least 21 players. They did that through a combination of 19 releases and two, including Sanford, going to injured reserve.
The Vikings also released veteran DT Fred Evans, who was entering his ninth NFL season and eighth with the Vikings. It’s further proof that the team is sold on rookie DT Shamar Stephen, who has received praise from the coaching staff throughout the preseason.
Also released were:
RB Joe Banyard
RB Dominique Williams
WR Kain Colter
WR Donte Foster
TE Allen Reisner
TE Chase Ford
OT Mike Remmers
C Zac Kerin
G Jeff Baca
DE Justin Trattou
DT Chase Baker
DT Isame Faciane
LB Mike Zimmer
LB Justin Jackson
CB Kendall James
CB Julian Posey
S Chris Crocker
S Kurt Coleman
In addition, the Vikings placed rookie offensive tackle Antonio Richardson on injured reserve with a knee injury.
The moves to release Crocker and Coleman, in addition to putting Sanford on injured reserve, leave the Vikings with Harrison Smith, Robert Blanton, Andrew Sendejo and rookie Antone Exum at safety. Head coach Mike Zimmer said Shaun Prater could eventually work at safety, too.
The other position of surprise was fullback. After speculation that Jerome Felton’s job might be in trouble, they not only kept him but also fullback Zach Line. They ended up keeping only two tight ends, Kyle Rudolph and Rhett Ellison. They also kept eight linebackers.
The Vikings can begin establishing their 10-man practice squad at 11 a.m. Sunday, the same time the claiming period closes for players on other teams that were placed on waivers.
Players with less than four years of experience are subject to the waiver wire. Vested veterans don’t go through the waiver wire process and are free to sign with any team but aren’t eligible for practice squads.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of 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.
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