Today is the bloodiest day of the year in the NFL. By the time all is said and done, more than 600 players that were on rosters earlier this week will be gone. The Vikings and the other 31 NFL teams need to cut their rosters from 75 players down to 53 by 5 p.m. today – not including potential cuts from other teams that will be acquired. Last year, the Vikings made such a pickup, taking tight end Garrett Mills after he was released by the Patriots. As fans will recall, Bill Belichick called Brad Childress and expressly asked that the Vikings not take Mills. They did anyway and Mills spent the 2007 season on the Vikings active roster.
There are going to be some tough cuts made and some players the team likes will have to be victims of the cuts. Here are some of the bubble players and position battles that will have to take place as the Vikings reduce their roster to 53 players.
Naufahu Tahi vs. Martin Nance -- While they play different positions, the Vikings are likely going to have to make a tough decision here. Nance has been on the practice squad the last two years and has to either make the team or be released. He has earned his spot, but still stands behind Bernard Berrian, Sidney Rice, Bobby Wade, Aundrae Allison and possibly Robert Ferguson. It expected that Ferguson will make the team, which would give the Vikings five wide receivers – the number the team has kept each of the last two years under Childress. For that number to go to six, it will have to come from somewhere else. That is why is will likely come down to Tahi if the team is going to keep Nance on the active roster.
Brian Daniels vs. Drew Radovich vs. Marcus Johnson vs. Chase Johnson -- The Vikings are said to really like Radovich, but he could be on the wrong side looking in. Although an ideal candidate for the practice squad, with Bryant McKinnie suspended for the first four games, two of these four will likely get selected. With Artis Hicks moving to tackle to replace McKinnie, Daniels is probably safe as a backup guard to both Steve Hutchinson and Anthony Herrera. Marcus Johnson, who likely would have joined Radovich on the unemployment line, will probably beat out Radovich and Chase Johnson as a reserve tackle – but, barring other injuries, could be sent packing when McKinnie's suspension ends.
Erin Henderson vs. Rufus Alexander vs. David Herron -- Henderson was much more than a nepotism pick and led the Vikings in tackles during the preseason. He has all but assured himself a roster spot, but the same isn't true for either Alexander or Herron. Alexander and Herron could be on the outside looking in. If another cut casualty from another team catches the Vikings' eye, both could end up on the unemployment line.
Michael Boulware vs. Eric Frampton vs. Husain Abdullah -- Boulware hasn't done that much to distinguish himself during the preseason, but with the injury to Madieu Williams, both he and Frampton have a chance to earn spots on the 53-man roster for now. If Williams is placed on the physically unable to perform list, which would have him out for the first six games of the season, look for two of the three to make the roster. The Vikings could keep five safeties, but that may be a lot to ask.
We'll find out all the answers at some time today. With a 5 p.m. local deadline, the cutting has already begun and will continue throughout the day, as dreams of the NFL get dashed leaguewide.
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