Last Stand in Texas

The Vikings and the other 31 NFL teams got their rosters right at 75 on Tuesday, but that was just the start of the rampant releasing that will be going on following the final preseason games.

The Vikings got the business of making their first cuts done early -- doing the deed last Saturday instead of waiting until Tuesday's deadline -- but that was just the beginning.

While many of the first cuts aren't deemed as that difficult -- most of the bigger names cut are done as a courtesy to give them more time to hook on with another team -- what follows this weekend will be much more difficult.

"There are a few tough decisions, but I'm not going to share those decisions. We've been through a lot of different scenarios with how many guys you keep in each spot, and you can make arguments for a number of different as I say scoring combinations," Vikings coach Brad Childress said Tuesday. "Yeah, we've got a few tough decisions, and hopefully these guys will play their tails off and make it even tougher on us."

Roster limits are currently set at 75. By Sunday, those numbers will have to be down to 53, meaning that at least 22 players that will be in uniform Thursday night against the Cowboys will be gone when the Vikings begin game preparation for the season opener vs. the Redskins.

The Cowboys game will be the last chance for many of the young Vikings player to make an impression, which Childress said is important. While many casual fans will tune out after the first quarter or first half when the starters take their place on the bench, the battles for many of these players -- more than 700 leaguewide will be cut this weekend -- it could be the last stand to make a team or the last time they suit up as a professional football player.

* Among the first batch of cuts were former first-rounders OT Aaron Gibson and CB Willie Middlebrooks, veteran QBs A.J. Feeley and Rob Johnson, TE Boo Williams, WR Troy Edwards and punter/kicker Travis Dorsch.
* Other players that were cut who were with the Vikings in recent seasons or offseasons were offensive lineman Adam Haayer (St. Louis), center Kyle Schmitt (Arizona), cornerback Brandon Pinderhughes (Philadelphia) and quarterback Jason Fife (New Orleans).
* The Vikings had wide receiver Derrick Hamilton in for a workout Tuesday. Hamilton was cut earlier this month by the 49ers.
* Feeley's connection to the Vikings is pretty strong. Not only did he play for Childress in Philadelphia from 2001-03, but Rick Spielman, the then-general manager of the Dolphins, traded a second-round pick to acquire him from the Eagles in 2004. "He's a great kid, and a pretty good football player. I just have to look into that," Childress said. "That was not on the waiver wire (Monday) night, so we had just kind of gone to work and saw that (Tuesday) morning. What you do is you pull back out old game tapes and watch him play, watch everybody play, and see what you think."
* Mike McMahon remains on the roster hot seat. He isn't expected to play Thursday and has a passer rating of just 23.7 in the first three preseason games.
* Another Eagles player with ties to Childress -- wide receiver Todd Pinkston -- has been given permission to seek a trade. Philly traded for Saints wide receiver Donte Stallworth on Monday.
* Fred Smoot (ribs) and Mewelde Moore (knee) will both be gametime decisions Thursday.

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