Cuts Coming Today

With a dozen lives hanging in the balance, today will be a tough day for Vikings coach Mike Tice -- a former NFL player who obviously worried about his family's stability more than once. However it pans out, this won't be a day Tice remembers fondly.

Final cutdown day is a nervous time for many players. For those who are cut, there is the hope that they will be brought back for roster spots as practice squad players or those unprotected to assure someone placed on the practice squad wouldn't be left unprotected.

For others, today may be the end of the line for their NFL dreams. On teams where coaches, owners and general managers have viewed the game from the sideline, these decisions don't weigh heavy on their minds. To them, it's not "show friends" it's "show business."

But, for second-year head coach Mike Tice, who spent more than a decade in the NFL, the reality of today is one that likely sends a chill down his back. The players released today will likely never see the money in the "real world" that they would have made had they survived the final cuts. Worse yet, there are players -- VU has been told the list may be from one to three players -- that survive today's cuts only to be released if anticipated players are cut from other teams and become available.

While the NFL is now America's favorite sport, today is what separates football from the other major professional sports. Dreams die today. Families are forever changed today. Wives and children have spouses and fathers that sought financial security and have that taken away.

Denny Green didn't have to worry about those things, because he was never a NFL player. Tice has to worry about it, because he knows what those guys on the cut list are going through -- and what it will mean to a circle of people beyond them that will have their lives irrevocably changed by today's decisions. But, it's part of the burden of being the Big Man. It ain't show friends, it's show business -- whether you sleep well tonight or not.

* More than a week ago, VU was told that, for the first time in team history, every draft pick will make the final roster. On Saturday, VU was told, not only will all seven almost assuredly make the roster, but all will be active for the Vikings season opener with the Packers.
* With as much heat as Tice took for the draft gaffe in April, all has worked out fine. Unfortunately for Tice, he was blamed for the draft faux pas of 2002, when the team tried to take Ryan Sims, the NFL accepted the team's card -- only to say later that a trade between the Cowboys and Chiefs was official. By "allowing" the Jags and Panthers to move ahead of them, the total of Kevin Williams' five-year deal is equal to the signing bonus for seventh overall pick Byron Leftwich. Not too shabby all things considered.
* Tice raved about the team's practice Saturday, saying it was probably the best practice the offense, defense and special teams have put together in the same day.

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