Roster Analysis

With the Vikings roster now set at the league-maximum 53 players, we take a position-by-position look at who made it, who didn't and why.

And then there were 53 Vikings.

Are they better than the 53 who finished 5-11 a year ago? Time will tell. But this year's final roster cuts certainly involved a little more excitement than usual in actually setting the opening-day roster.

The addition of Biekert should have more positive impact than the addition of Spergon Wynn and Travis Prentice did a year ago.

In most cases, the younger guy with upside potential got the nod over the experienced guy who probably won't get much better than he's already shown.

"These cuts are always difficult," said Vikings head coach Mike Tice. "The hard work that everyone has put in since March makes it especially difficult to release these players."

Here's a position-by-position look at some of the thinking that went into the Vikings' decisions:

Quarterbacks (3) — Who's in? Daunte Culpepper, Todd Bouman, Shaun Hill.

Who's out? Wynn and Romaro Miller were let go earlier.

Why? Hill is cost-effective and has some potential; Wynn and Miller were unable to distinguish themselves, though given chances.

Running Backs (5) — Who's in? Michael Bennett, Doug Chapman, Moe Williams, James Wofford, Harold Morrow.

Who's out? Jeremy Allen and David Allen.

Why? Chapman's strong showing in the preseason finale left no room for the rookie free agent from Iowa, Jeremy Allen, or David Allen, the return specialist from Kansas State who was beat out by Nick Davis. However, Jeremy Allen was brought back to the practice squad as a fullback because of his size-speed ratio and potential as a pound-it-out-type bigger back who can wear a defense down after Bennett has them on their heels because of his breakaway speed.

Wide Receivers (6) — Who's in? Randy Moss, Derrick Alexander, D'Wayne Bates, Chris Walsh, Kelly Campbell, Cedric James.

Who's out? Sean Dawkins.

Why? Moss, Alexander, Bates and Walsh provided enough experience; Campbell and James offered better upside potential. If Alexander or Bates had washed out, Dawkins would have made it.

Tight Ends (4) — Who's in? Byron Chamberlain, Jim Kleinsasser, Hunter Goodwin, Matt Cercone.

Who's out? Jeff Kostrewa.

Why? He couldn't beat out Cercone, who also made it ahead of injury-prone veterans Johnny McWilliams and O.J. Santiago, who were released earlier. Cercone is a versatile in-line tight end/H-back who also contributes more on special teams.

Offensive Line (8) — Who's in? Matt Birk, Chris Liwienski, David Dixon, Corbin Lacina, Lewis Kelly, Everett Lindsay, Cory Withrow, Adam Haayer.

Who's out? Orlando Bobo, Mike Malano, Bennitte Waddell, Lorenzo White, Ed Ta'amu, Bryant McKinnie (holdout).

Why? The experience and/or versatility of the backups that were kept gave them the edge. Lindsay can play anywhere, and Withrow can play any of the three inside spots. Haayer's the only pure backup tackle until McKinnie signs. Ta'amu has potential but needs seasoning and was brought back via the practice squad. Converted defensive lineman Chad Beasley, who was released in the first wave of cuts, was also brought back to the practice squad.

Defensive Line (8) — Who's in? Kenny Mixon, Chris Hovan, Fred Robbins, Lance Johnstone, Lorenzo Bromell, Talance Sawyer, Darius Holland, Chuck Wiley.

Who's out? Cedric Killings.

Why? Killings probably outplayed Bromell during the preseason, but he still doesn't offer as much pure potential or versatility. Killings was productive but just didn't offer anything special in comparison to those kept.

Linebackers (7) — Who's in? Greg Biekert, Henri Crockett, Patrick Chukwurah, Raonall Smith, Jim Nelson, Nick Rogers, Antonio Wilson.

Who's out? Lemanski Hall, Andre O'Neal, Max Yates.

Why? With Biekert coming in, the emphasis shifts from needing experience to needing potential. Hall and O'Neal are journeyman-types with limited upside potential, whereas Smith and Rogers show a lot of upside potential.

Defensive Backs (8) — Who's in? Corey Chavous, Eric Kelly, Ronnie Bradford, Willie Offord, Tyrone Carter, Brian Williams, Brian Russell, Jack Brewer.

Who's out? Kyries Hebert, Carey Scott, Anthony Midget.

Why? Hebert started strong but leveled off too soon while Brewer came on strong. The coaches think Carter has finally found his spot, and they really like the promise that Williams shows. Scott was re-signed for the practice squad, so the team sees potential there. Surprisingly, Hebert was not.

Specialists (4) — Who's in? K Doug Brien, P Kyle Richardson, RS Nick Davis, LS Brody Heffner-Liddiard.

Who's out? K Tim Seder, RS David Allen.

Why? Seder was claimed on waivers from Dallas where he lost his job to a strong-legged rookie free agent named Billy Cundiff, but Seder didn't show the coaches that he offered more than Brien during last week's "audition." In the end, nobody else showed more consistency than Brien has, at least in practice. Allen started strong as a return guy but tailed off, while Davis took some time to get comfortable but showed more explosiveness

Viking Update Top Stories