With the preseason now over halfway done – even further along for the Minnesota Vikings – NFL teams have to start to think about what players they are going to be letting go. Teams will be forced to cut their 90-man roster down to 75 players on Sept. 1 and then to 53 players on Sept. 5.
Coaches and general managers say it’s always a difficult time and just one performance in a preseason game can make a big difference for bubble players on whether they stay or are released.
Chase Ford is one of those bubble guys on the Minnesota Vikings’ roster who could possibly be let go when it is time for the team to make cuts. He played well filling in for an injured Kyle Rudolph a year ago, but with the addition of rookie tight end MyCole Pruitt there just might be too many tight ends on the roster now since they are likely to be keeping Kyle Rudolph and Rhett Ellison, along with Pruitt.
The Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer did not give any specific answers when asked about Ford’s chances of making the roster, but it still seems to be up in the air.
“Right now we are looking at all those options, different guys we keep and all that,” he said when asked if the team will keep four tight ends. “So I think a lot of people are in battles but I don’t want to be specific about who’s competing for roster spots.”
Zimmer likes the type of player that Ford is and the way he plays the game. At 6-foot-6 and 265 pounds, Ford is a big target for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and he is not afraid to go up and make the tough catches, even when he knows he is going to get hit from an oncoming defender.
The biggest things Ford needs to prove in these final weeks of preseason is that he can be more consistent with his play and that he has the ability to be a better blocker.
“Chase does a really good job in the passing game,” Zimmer said. “Before that on the two-minute drill he caught the ball with one hand and got out of bounds. Those are things we’ve been preaching all of training camp. He catches the ball well, he runs good routes and he’s got to continue to maintain consistency.”
Ford believes his performance on the field, both from what he did last year and what he has done this offseason, should give him a chance to make the team, but also said it isn’t up to him. He knows that his fate lies in the hands of the Vikings front office.
He needs to make the most of every opportunity he gets, which is exactly what he did in Saturday’s game against the Oakland Raiders. He had five receptions on six targets for 19 yards and a touchdown. The stats may not seem all that impressive, but he made some difficult catches during the game that helped out his team in a close game.
“Any opportunity you have to catch the ball you need to catch it,” he said. “I mean, you don’t want to miss the ball, that’s how you get cut.”
If it turns out the team does release him, there are 31 other teams in the NFL that he has the possibility to land with and he feels as though someone will take a chance at him.
“I hope so, that’s not really up to me,” Ford said when asked if he feels another team will pick him up if he gets cut. “That’s up to the other GMs and head coaches and stuff, but I feel like somebody will try to take a chance on me.”
Ford built tough, but likely still on bubble
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