VikingBuzz BLOG: 9/2

The VikingBuzz BLOG is your daily source for the latest news, information, commentary and analysis on the Minnesota Vikings.

Vikings gamble and lose; Thigpen claimed by Chiefs

The Vikings took a chance and it appears they lost in trying to slip quarterback Tyler Thigpen through waivers.  The Kansas City Chiefs were awarded Thigpen according to his agent, Joel Turner.

As we outlined below, there were a lot of teams with just two quarterbacks on their roster after getting down to the 53-player limit, and the Chiefs were one of them.

Exposing Thigpen to waivers was a calculated risk by the Vikings and one that will likely not turn in their favor as time goes by.  Thigpen has a lot of upside potential, whereas Brooks Bollinger is probably as good as he’s going to get.

The Vikings gambled and it appears they lost.

Smith expected to sign with Chiefs

It appears that former Vikings DE Khreem Smith will find a well-paying job after all.  The Kansas City Chiefs are reportedly going to sign him to their 53-man roster.  Perhaps his strongest time in training camp with the Vikings this summer came during the team’s scrimmages with the Chiefs.

Players with pass-rush potential are hard to come by, so it’s not surprising that Smith found a new home quickly.  The Vikings just had too many bodies at that position to afford to keep him.

Vikings hoping to get Thigpen back

Rookie quarterback Tyler Thigpen remains hopeful that the Vikings will re-sign him to the practice squad today.

“I definitely felt this was coming,” Thigpen said of being released yesterday.  “I wasn't surprised by it at all.  It was still a great opportunity for me and they are still trying to keep me around.”

Both Thigpen and his agent had no comment on whether any other team had inquired about him, according to this Myrtle Beach Online report.

Uh, oh:  14 teams down to just two QBs

The league allows eight players on the practice squad this season.  The Vikings will have an additional exemption for carrying international player Seppo Evwaraye.  So they’ll be trying to provide depth and developmental prospects at eight more slots by the end of business Sunday.

It might be bad news for the Vikings, who are trying to slip rookie Tyler Thigpen onto their practice squad, but there are at least 14 NFL teams with only two quarterbacks currently on their roster.

The Atlanta Falcons have just Joey Harrington and Chris Redman on their current roster after cutting Casey Bramlet.

The Carolina Panthers have Jake Delhomme and David Carr.  They cut Dalton Bell.

Tennessee has Vince Young and veteran Kerry Collins.  They released Tim Rattay.

The Patriots have only Matt Cassell behind Tom Brady after cutting Vinny Testaverde.

Green Bay has Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers.  They cut Paul Thompson.

The Arizona Cardinals have Matt Leinart and Kurt Warner, but cut both Shane Boyd and Lang Campbell.

Buffalo has just J.P. Losman and Trent Edwards after cutting former Packers backup Craig Nall.

Dallas has Tony Romo and Brad Johnson after cutting both Matt Moore and Richard Bartel.

The Denver Broncos have just Jay Cutler and Patrick Ramsey after cutting Darrell Hackney.

Houston is carrying Matt Schaub and Sage Rosenfels.  They cut Jared Zabransky.

The Colts have Peyton Manning and Jim Sorgi.  Their No. 3 in camp was Josh Betts.

Jacksonville has David Garrard and Quinn Gray after releasing former starter Byron Leftwich.

The Chiefs have Damon Huard and Brodie Croyle without a No. 3 after releasing Casey Printers and Jeff Terrell.

New Orleans has Drew Brees and Jamie Martin but released rookie Tyler Palko.

In many cases, a lot of these teams have their own plans to bring back the guy they cut to provide insurance at quarterback on their own practice squad.  Atlanta, Carolina, Tennessee and New England could be a concern, but most other teams are trying to slip a lot of their own guys through to the practice squad themselves, and the tendency is usually to bring in a more proven player to bump someone once you get down to 53 players.

Still, it is a bit of a gamble the Vikings are hoping to come out on with their seventh-round pick from Coastal Carolina.

Roster spots decided on the practice field

One thing to keep in mind when being surprised by roster cuts is the fact that what fans see in preseason games is merely a fraction of what the coaches and personnel people see.  Every drill and scrimmage and practice is taped and reviewed each day by the coaches and personnel people.  They get so much repetition of looking at these guys that they know exactly what they can and cannot do.

How they perform in preseason games is always just a snippet of what they’ve already shown the coaching staff.  And our view is always somewhat skewed because of that, where a big play in the stat sheet looks impressive.  But it’s what these guys have been showing day after day from OTAs, minicamps and two-a-days in training camp that make or break their chances to make it.

Another special teamer to watch

Ex-Jags defensive back Nick Sorenson might not be the only special teams ace to keep an eye on for the Vikings.

If you watched the Vikings-Jets preseason game, you probably enjoyed how the Vikings dominated most of the game.  But if you’ll recall, one player they absolutely could not block on special teams was safety Raymond Ventrone, who seemed to weave his way through potential blockers like they were on roller skates.

If the Vikings are serious about a special-teams only player, Ventrone, who was among the Jets final roster cuts, could be on their radar.

Ex-Viking tracker and other tidbits

Former Vikings quarterback Wade Wilson, who is now the quarterbacks coach for the Dallas Cowboys has been suspended by the league for five games for taking HGH to help him treat his diabetes.  Wilson spent 11 seasons (1981-91) with the Vikings.  Wilson will also be fined $100,000 as a result of an “uninformed decision.”  The whole thing sounds pretty harsh.  Wade is and always was one of the good guys when he was with the Vikings.

Former Viking OG Chris Liwienski looks like he’s landed back on his feet again with the Miami Dolphins.  Liwienski is once again entrenched as a starter at left guard.

Former Vikings backup center Cory Withrow is now with the San Diego Chargers in the same role.  He is currently listed as day-to-day with a foot strain.  Withrow, who began his pro career as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Vikings in 1998, was with the Vikings through 2005.  He was out of football last season before signing a three-year contract with the Chargers this spring.

Bears FB Obafemi Ayanbadejo begins his league-imposed four-game suspension this week.  Ayanbadejo was originally signed as a rookie free agent by the Vikings and spent two seasons (1997-98) with Minnesota, before moving on to Baltimore, Miami, Arizona and now Chicago.

Browns WR Maurice Mann, who was with the Vikings last season before being released prior to training camp this summer, was released by Cleveland.

Bengals PK Aaron Elling suffered a torn knee ligament, which likely ends his chances at staying around in Cincinnati.  Elling, a Waconia, Minn. native, was the Vikings' regular kicker in 2003 and has since bounced around with Tennessee, Baltimore, Atlanta, Jacksonville and Cincinnati.  Elling was formally waived/injured by the Bengals.

Ex-Viking Todd Steussie was placed on injured reserve by the Rams with a foot injury, meaning he will miss the entire 2007 season.

Remember when the Vikings “bluffed” they might take Penn State defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy in the first round in 2003?  They ended up taking All-Pro Kevin Williams instead.  Kennedy was cut yesterday by the Denver Broncos.

Speaking of the Broncos, former Gophers center Greg Eslinger, who spent his entire rookie season on injured reserve, was also cut by the Broncos.  He would be practice squad eligible if the Vikings were interested in bringing the hometown kid back to Minnesota.

A correction:  When the Eagles’ official list of cuts came out Saturday, DT Ian Scott was NOT on the list.

Other stories:

>Roster almost ready
>Vikings work to fine-tune roster
>Official roster cut announcement
>Birk says line will be better
>Edwards moves on, practice squad candidates
>Peterson high impact rookie; Allison late-round gem
>Vikings still $20 million under salary cap
>2007 preseason college All-America checklist

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