Released Players Who Could Help Minnesota

After an amazingly predictable round of cuts from the Vikings on Saturday, a number of good players were released from other teams that could help the Vikings, at least offering depth. See who we believe are the best fits that were released around the league, plus see which former Vikings around the league got the axe.

The Vikings proved they are searching for more talent when they worked out five wide receivers on Friday. But that was before the latest round of waiver-wire transactions as teams around the league trimmed their roster to the league-mandated 53 players Saturday.

With those released came several players that might be able to help out the Vikings at positions of potential vulnerability.

RUNNING BACK - If Mewelde Moore and Chester Taylor stay healthy, the Vikings don't have huge concerns at running back. But so far, Moore only played in the preseason opener and has had a short injury-plagued career. With Ciatrick Fason also offering some experience and Wendell Mathis sporting a reserve role that isn't likely to see much action except as a potential return man, there is only one name from Saturday's releases hold any potential: Quentin Griffin. Griffin showed all kinds of potential with the Denver Broncos' strong running attack in past years, but his career has been somewhat of a disappointment since holding all that hope. He has only rushed 179 times for 656 yards, a 3.7-yard average. Still, the name and the player are out there as a possibility.

The Rams also released former Vikings running back Moe Williams, but Williams' career could be over.

LINEBACKER - Barrett Green, a valuable reserve outside linebacker, was available before Saturday's cutdown, but the Vikings apparently had little interest in him. On Saturday, only one linebacker that was released caught our attention - Keith Adams of the Panthers.

Adams, at 5-11 and 223 pounds, played for the Philadelphia Eagles from 2002-2005, registering 139 tackles. He wouldn't be a starter, but he could be a decent reserve.

WIDE RECEIVER - The Koren Robinson release has left the Vikings thin at the position, even if recently signed Todd Pinkston is healthy. They may be OK as long as their top choices - Troy Williamson, Travis Taylor and Marcus Robinson - all stay healthy, but they could still use depth behind them. Two names stand out as being able to potentially help the team on offense - Darnerien McCants and Tyrone Calico.

McCants holds some return potential and played for the Eagles, who released him Saturday, and Vikings fans know what experience in Philadelphia does for a potential signee under Brad Childresss. McCants has caught 58 passes for 774 yards and eight touchdowns in his career.

Calico was a raw speedster the Vikings had an interest in when he was drafted by Tennessee. The problem is, after three years in the league, he is still somewhat raw, which might not bode well in the Vikings' more disciplined system. But at 6-4, 220, he offers good size and has 42 catches for 501 yards and four touchdowns in his career.

The Packers also released Rod Gardner, a 6-2, 215-pound veteran that offers the most experience of those mentioned. He has 240 catches for 3,148 yards and 23 touchdowns, mainly with the Washington Redskins.

The final wide receiver of note from Saturday's releases is former Steeler Quincy Morgan. Morgan could contribute on offense, but he also holds solid return potential, another area of concern for Minnesota. Morgan's career started in Cleveland, and he offers possibilities as a receiver (164 catches for 2,466 yards and 17 touchdowns) and kick returner (34 for 850 yards, a 25.0-yard average).

Another return specialist now on the market is Rod Smart, of XFL "He Hate Me" fame. In the NFL, he has returned 78 kicks for 1,731 yards, a 22.1-yard average.


Saturday's cuts brought out a number of former Vikings released by other teams.

The Dolphins placed wide receiver Kelly Campbell on injured reserve. He was hurt most of the preseason.

Tampa Bay released guard Toniu Fonoti, who started one game for the Vikings last year before a trip to injured reserve.

Dennis Green and the Arizona Cardinals released former Vikings linebacker Isaac Keys and center Shawn Lynch. They also placed former Vikings safety Jack Brewer on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.

Defensive lineman Cedric Killings played for the Vikings in 2002 and 2003, but he was released from the Redskins.

Offensive lineman Chad Beasley never made the Vikings' team, and he won't make the Panthers roster this year either.

The same hold true for linebacker Sarth Benoit, who was released by the 49ers.

Guard Shannon Snell previously spent time on the Vikings' practice squad, but the Jags released him. He might be in line for time on their practice squad with Mike Tice assisting in Jacksonville.

Oakland released former Vikings camp body William Obeng, an offensive lineman.

Former Vikings running back Butchie Wallace, now with Atlanta, was suspended by the commissioner.

NOTE: The Vikings also placed wide receiver/kick returner Kevin Kasper on injured reserve, joining cornerback Dovonte Edwards.

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