Vikings Personnel on the Upswing

It says something about the team's improved overall talent level when four of the players the Vikings released are signed and added to their 53-man roster.

Gone are the days when getting cut by the Vikings meant your pro football career was over, as four of the players recently released by the Vikings with their roster cuts to get down to the 53-player limit were signed by other teams.

RB Artose Pinner was signed by the Atlanta Falcons to be their No. 3 running back behind Warrick Dunn and Jerious Norwood.  Pinner was running No. 4 on the depth chart with the Vikings, so this represents a better opportunity for him.  Pinner showed with the Vikings last season that he can carry the load if called upon, when he rushed for 125 yards on 29 carries with three touchdowns against the Lions in his only start in his time in Minnesota.

CB Dovonte Edwards was claimed by the New York Giants where he will get a chance to compete for the No. 4 cornerback spot behind R.W. McQuarters, Corey Webster and first-round pick Aaron Ross.  Edwards has some speed and cover ability, but the addition of rookie Marcus McCauley and the emergence of Charles Gordon pushed Edwards into a role where he needed to excel on special teams more than just being a fifth-string cornerback.  That’s why the Vikings kept Ronyell Whitaker instead, because he’s a more reliable tackler and was second on the team in special teams tackles a year ago.

QB Tyler Thigpen was claimed by the Kansas City Chiefs, where he will be developed behind Damon Huard and Brodie Croyle.  Thigpen still has a ways to go, but he clearly has the demeanor, the intelligence and the physical tools to eventually develop into a starting-caliber quarterback in the NFL.  The Vikings did a good job in identifying, drafting and developing this prospect, but they did a poor job of finding a way to keep him in the organization.  Vikings vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman has made nothing but masterful moves since coming to the Vikings, but we gotta give him a “thumbs down” on this one.  But, like the others, a guy that was No. 4 on Minnesota’s depth chart comes in at No. 3 with the Chiefs.

LB David Herron was claimed by the New England Patriots, where he will get an opportunity at inside linebacker in their 3-4 defensive scheme.  Herron had a stronger training camp than we anticipated, quite frankly, and was being targeted to be a practice squad player for the Vikings until Bill Belichick grabbed him.

DE Khreem Smith was also picked up by the Chiefs and added to their practice squad.  Smith was good enough to be elevated to the 53-man roster with the Vikings late last season and showed some good flashes of pass-rush potential.  But with the Vikings he was only the seventh-best defensive end on the roster.  With the Chiefs, there are only four players ahead of him – Tamba Hali, Jared Allen, Jimmy Wilkerson and Turk McBride – on the active roster.  His chances of moving up with the Chiefs are probably better than they would have been with the Vikngs.

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