Roster Focus on the Survivors

Much of the news Saturday was on those players that didn't make the roster, but we take a look at some of the bubble players that survived the cuts … for now.

Black Saturday is over.

On a day when almost 300 players lost their jobs in the NFL, the Vikings now take about the task of checking the other cuts that were made and which players might be of interest. That could be good news for the franchise, but potentially bad news for those who thought they had survived the last cut only to find out later someone else was picked up that the team deemed more valuable.

While the players cut made the news, it was those players who made the 53-man roster that are now being looked at. Husain Abdullah and Eric Frampton were both players that came into camp with a chance of making the team – Frampton more than Abdullah – but the decision to keep five safeties allowed both to make the team when Michael Boulware was placed on injured reserve.

Rookie Letroy Guion may have made the team Friday night at Dallas. With very limited college experience, he was viewed by some as a potential bubble candidate, but he made the team as a backup DT along with Ellis Wyms and Fred Evans, giving the Vikings five defensive tackles on the roster.

A pair of players thought to be on the bubble due to injury also made it through. Tight end Garrett Mills missed almost all of training camp due to injury, but the player scooped by the Vikings last year after being released by the Patriots, Mills had one reception during the preseason but still found his way on the 53-man roster. The TE position is tied in tightly with the fullbacks on the team and keeping Mills put that number to six on the 53-man roster, including fullbacks Thomas Tapeh and Naufahu Tahi, as well as Mills, Visanthe Shiancoe, Jim Kleinsasser and Jeff Dugan at tight end.

The same was true for OT Drew Radovich. With the Vikings likely concerned that he wouldn't make it through the waiver process to the practice squad, Radovich was retained despite missing much of the preseason with a shoulder injury. Keeping Radovich likely came at the expense of guard Brian Daniels, whom many thought had played well enough to make the roster.

Wide receiver felt some of the pinch, as Martin Nance, Jaymar Johnson, Darius Reynaud and Nate Jones all felt the axe fall. Linebacker Rufus Alexander also made a strong bid to remain, but was one of the victims of the cuts to keep an extra player at the position.

The team will take on a different look this afternoon as players clear through waivers and are signed to the practice. A number of players cut Saturday likely will return as the 2008 season is through the waiting process. With five days and counting down, the NFL is getting ready to rumble and have the rosters have been set … for now.

  • The Vikings may still be busy in the waiver wire market. The team was aggressive in signing players following the draft and may be active in exploring players from other teams for signing to the 53-man roster or the practice squad.

  • If a player is claimed during the period between the announced cuts and 24 hours later, like Mills was last year, the team must keep him on the 53-man roster all season or release him.

  • One name that has already popped up as a potential waiver pickup is offensive tackle Willie Anderson of the Bengals. He refused to take a pay cut and was a cap-related cut and, with a team as wild as Cincinnati has been over the last few years, Anderson has established himself as a locker room leader of strong character. He would fit both the need for experience at offensive tackle and is the type of high-character guy Brad Childress loves. He would likely be an upgrade from Artis Hicks while Bryant McKinnie is on suspension and, when McKinnie returns, he would also likely be an upgrade at right tackle over Ryan Cook.

  • Radovich may find himself on the practice squad yet. When McKinnie returns, he could be the player released and, with all of the other NFL teams already having their practice squads full, it may be easier to slide him through waivers and sign him to the practice squad than risking it Saturday.

  • Black Saturday hit some former Vikings pretty hard. You could have practically made a starting lineup out of the cuts – QBs Todd Bouman (Jacksonville) and Drew Henson (Detroit), RBs Adiminchobe Echemandu (Oakland), Artose Pinner (Detroit) and Ciatrick Fason (Jacksonville), wide receivers Travis Taylor (Carolina), Todd Lowber (Dallas), Billy McMullen (Washington), Maurice Mann (Washington) and Ryan Hoag (Jacksonville), DE Patrick Chukwurah (Tampa Bay), CBs Dovonte Edwards (Detroit) and Dustin Fox (Buffalo) and safety Greg Blue (Detroit).

  • Chris Simms and Joey Harrington were among the veteran quarterbacks joining Brooks Bollinger in the clot of available players.

  • A couple of years ago Ashley Lelie was viewed as an up-and-coming star. Saturday his rocky road with the 49ers came to an end.
  • Troy Williamson was the talk of Jacksonville as a potential roster casualty, but survived the final cuts with the Jaguars.

  • Thanks for the 41 passes Thursday, Richard Bartel. He was released Saturday by the Cowboys after playing the entire game Thursday against the Vikings. That may be setting up Dallas making a run at Chris Simms.

  • With all the talk of injuries to Tom Brady and Peyton Manning in the preseason, both teams have just two QBs on the roster. Despite a dismal preseason, Matt Cassel is still the only backup in New England and the Colts cut both Quinn Gray and the Hefty Lefty Jared Lorenzen, leaving just Jim Sorgi as the backup. That could work out well for someone like Daunte Culpepper if either Brady or Manning suffers an injury setback early in the year.

  • If he clears waivers, the Vikings might have an interest in signing QB Andre Woodson to the practice squad. Released by the Giants, he has a lot of the intangibles that Donovan McNabb brought to the league when Childress was coaching in Philadelphia. He could be viewed as a one-year project who could remain once Gus Frerotte moves on.

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