15 Cuts Coming Today

The Vikings have to trim 15 players off their roster today. Will injured linebacker Craig Sauer be one of them? The Vikes are being tight-lipped about it.

At the beginning of training camp, it didn't seem like the final round of cuts would be difficult for the Vikings, but, a month later, the futures of several players -- those who stay and those who go -- hang in the balance as the team makes 15 cuts today.

At VU, we've been breaking down the players who would stay and who would be gone by tonight and Denny Green tossed a wrench in those plans. DT Winfield Garnett and LB Fearon Wright were a couple of deep roster depth chart guys who seemed like sure cuts, but, following Friday's game, Green indicated both had played well enough to make the team. If not them, then who?

VU has heard some names being thrown around. The Vikings may cut rookie Cedric James in hopes he will clear waivers and be put on the practice squad, but that may be an unlikely scenario. If James stays, the Vikes will be almost forced to cut either Troy Walters or Nate Jacquet and both have earned their spot on the team.

Another big question mark is at linebacker. Craig Sauer spent the week in Texas having his troublesome foot checked out again by a specialist. While the Vikings may put him on injured reserve again, because of his contract status, he may well be one of the cuts the team makes to achieve extra cap space, since all potential competition comes at a cheaper price and don't have a pre-existing medical condition.

Also on the block are players like DB's Keith Thibodeaux and Wasswa Serwanga. It's likely one of the two will be gone -- or both if the Vikings bring in someone from the outside. A month ago, few would have thought that the Vikings would have to make such a decision, but such is the life of a team looking to go to the Super Bowl and making personnel decisions that could impact the entire season.

What looked like a series of easy cuts a month ago now looks like a difficult sojourn into the unknown. The Vikings have more players they want to keep than roster spots and hope that at least two or three of the players they release will be around Monday to pick up for the practice squad.

* Even though the Vikings are biding their time about making final cuts, that doesn't mean they're not scouring the waiver wire for other teams' cuts. If the right player becomes available for the right price, the Vikes won't hesitate to make a move and make it quickly.
* One player the team may no longer be after is DT Cortez Kennedy. Yesterday VU asked why the Vikes would be interested in the unemployed veteran considering his high asking price and the apparent lack of need for a nosetackle with the play of Fred Robbins and Shawn Worthen. While the door isn't completely closed, VU has learned that the Jets, Packers and Patriots have joined the Saints and Vikings in making inquiries about the big man in the middle.
* On the good news injury front, the Panthers will be without starting safety Barry Minter, who will miss the game with a knee injury.

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