The Last Dance

The Vikings need to whittle their roster down to 75 players next Tuesday, making Saturday's game with the Seahawks not only the game in which the guys who are going to make the roster see the most action, but also the last chance for those on the bubble to make an impression before cut-down day.

The preseason is a drudge for starting players and not much more interesting for fans, but the game is a matter of professional life and death for hundreds of players hoping to realize their NFL dreams.

Saturday's game for the Vikings will be the last before the team has to cut down to 75 players. Last year, the team didn't wait until the deadline – which will be Tuesday afternoon this year – to make their cuts. There's no telling if they will hold same the approach this year, but one thing is clear – a lot of players who have the goal of being an NFL player will see that dream die Tuesday.

The league used to have three cut-down days, but have reduced it to two, making teams lop 20 or more players at the final countdown following the final preseason game. There usually aren't a ton of big names on the first cut list, and most of those that are on the early cut list are there out of respect from the organization that has them in hopes of letting that player hook on with another team.

For those who have been following the preseason and training camp closely, there might be a couple of names that raise eyebrows when the Vikings make their first cuts. But for the casual fan and those who have already looked at potential final 53-man rosters, there won't be many – if any – surprises.

* Robert Ferguson is expected to get a pretty long look Saturday to see how he meshes with the Vikings offense.
* Leslie Frazier ran the Vikings practice Thursday as coach Brad Childress missed the practice due to a family situation. * Offseason signings Mike Doss and Vinny Ciurciu won't play Saturday, nor will cornerback Mike Hawkins.
* Look for Erasmus James to get about a dozen plays Saturday.
* Fred Evans returned to the team after missing a week clearing up legal problems he had in Florida. He is expected to see some playing time Saturday.
* The Seahawks will have a new starter defensive end for Saturday's game, as Darryl Tapp has moved ahead of Bryce Fisher for the starting job against the Vikings. Whether it lasts beyond the preseason is yet to be seen.
* Former Viking Jermaine Wiggins was shaken up pretty badly last night in the nationally televised game with the Packers. Rookie Aaron Rouse drilled Wiggins and dropped him to the ground, where he remained for some time before being assisted from the field.

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