We took a shot at the 53-man roster and didn’t do too bad, so why not take a deep dive and predict the players that will make the practice squad for $6,000 per week, based off our observations during the offseason, training camp and preseason?
RB Dominique Williams – Williams showed quickness and burst that is intriguing. He’s not the biggest back, but he had his moments that showed he could be valuable if depth is ever tested in the backfield.
G Isame Faciane – Faciane was switched from the defensive line last year to the offensive line this year. Of course, the transition takes time, but he showed that he can be a powerful run blocker at times while pass-protection technique naturally will take some time to learn.
T David Yankey – He hasn’t developed as hoped, spending the entire 2015 season on the 53-man roster but never getting in a game. Is it time to give up on him? Clearly, he wasn’t consistent enough to warrant a spot on the 53-man roster this year, causing the Vikings traded for Jeremiah Sirles.
OL Tyrus Thompson – The Vikings obviously saw some potential in Thompson to draft him in the sixth round, but Thompson never settled in with any consistency, despite being given a brief shot at the starting right guard spot. Maybe a year on the practice squad would help him settle down and find some consistency.
DT Chigbo Anunoby – He filled in as a rotational player as Shamar Stephen recovered from arthroscopic knee surgery in the preseason and performed well enough to be developed.
DL B.J. Dubose – An injury caused Dubose’s preseason to start too late to have a legitimate shot at a deep position for the Vikings. That doesn’t mean that can’t work on refining his techniques and getting him strong with some time on the practice squad.
LB Brian Peters – Transitioning from the CFL to NFL takes time, but Peters has some potential that should be further explored. It was a deep position for the Vikings, but that shouldn’t stop them from looking to increase it further.
S Anthony Harris – He was a priority undrafted free agent and had a partially guaranteed contract. He didn’t participate in much of the offseason, but was there for training camp on. With a $20,000 signing bonus, he’s worth bringing back for further development.
T Babatunde Aiyegbusi – Wait, this is the ninth man on an eight-man practice, isn’t it? Yes, it is, but the Vikings can apply for an international exemption on the practice squad and the Polish giant qualifies. He’s definitely raw in his techniques and it has showed on numerous occasions, but you can’t teach 6-foot-9, 350 pounds.
Honorable mention: WR Isaac Fruechte – If we have too many offensive linemen on the practice squad for the Vikings’ liking, they might want to have a receiver at the ready to develop. We know it won’t be Donte Foster, so Fruechte makes sense. Of course, there is always a very real chance that two or three players from other teams are signed for at least a three-week look-see.