Roster churn continues with UDFAs, tryouts

After a busy draft, the Vikings continue to shape their roster with undrafted rookies and tryouts at rookie minicamp.

The Minnesota Vikings selected their final pick in the 2015 NFL draft late Saturday afternoon and spent the rest of the evening signing college free agents who went undrafted. They were also inviting other undrafted players to their rookie minicamp in order to try out for the team.

It is a tricky process of being able to find the right players because NFL teams are only allowed 90 on a roster. The Vikings have 75 already on their roster and just drafted 10 players. That leaves them with five open spots to sign undrafted free agents to go into minicamps and eventually training camp.

General Manager Rick Spielman met with the media Sunday night to discuss this process and he thinks the Vikings are currently in a good place because they got a good jump on the college free agents and have already signed a good amount.

“We’re going to have more than five college free agents in there that we signed,” Spielman said. “I know our number is in the double digits, I just don’t know if it’s 10 or 12. I just can’t get it off the top of my head right now. But I think there was a quarterback, fullback, three receivers, I think three more offensive linemen, a corner and I think the safety. And then what we’ll do is we’ll save spots for guys that surface up out of the guys that are coming in for tryouts.”

The Vikings have to have the amount of players signed to their roster cut down to 90 by Thursday when the rookies and college free agents arrive. The Vikings are already over the 90-player mark, which means that they have to cut some players who are already on the roster.

“But what will happen is once we get 90 – which we are getting close to get at – then there will be a domino effect,” Spielman said. “Well, if we want to sign this guy that came in as a free-agent tryout, then we’re going to have to cut someone. So it’s a balancing act. And those guys right now, with all the commits and stuff, we don’t have to be at 90 until those (undrafted) guys sign on Thursday. College free agents come in and sign on Thursday.”

Then the players who come in and try out for the team will further complicate things. If the coaching staff and front office choose to sign one of them, then they need to decide which player on their roster they to release in order to make room. And there is a good chance of that happening because the Vikings are planning on having close to 50 players try out for the team.

“Right now, everything is in flux and we’ll work through it this week before they get in on Thursday,” Spielman said.

It’s not too often that players will crack an NFL roster this way, especially since a majority of the rookies that make the team are selected in the draft. But there are always a couple players who come in as undrafted rookie free agents and earn a place – and even see the field.

Two players who had this scenario happen to them, who Spielman referenced repeatedly, are wide receiver Adam Thielen and defensive back Marcus Sherels. Both of them went undrafted but were able to try out with the Vikings and earn a roster spot. And it is players like those two that the Vikings will be looking for in the coming week.

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