Over the weekend the Vikings were required by draconian NFL rule to reduce the number of players on their roster to a required limit of 53. We lost a lot of good men out there this weekend (No we didn’t) with a couple of surprises (not really) and even a few heartbreaking decisions of letting fan-loved and quality players go (not actually true). Of further note, we now have a better understanding of where the Vikings sit with their 53-man roster heading into the season. Join Purple Jesus Diaries as we recap the final 53 and provide EARTH SHATTERING ANALYSIS on the 2011 Minnesota Vikings roster:
QBs: Donovan McNabb, Christian Ponder, Joe Webb – No surprises here. What this official release, which I copied and pasted from the Vikings.com blog here, may tell us though about the quarterback situation is that Joe Webb will end up being the third QB on the team and Pondexter second. With the new NFL rules saying there really is no 3rd QB on game days, this, I think, means Webbster can play more wildcat stuff, WR or punt return. Whatever we need. That’s good, because he’s talented, I like him, and he should be on the field. Also significant, however, is it means Pondexter runs with the second team during weekly practice, familiarizing himself with the system and playbook more, while Webb plays Michael Vick (or Phillip Rivers this week … LAZER THROWS!) as the scout team QB and learns basic plays from the opposing team week-to-week. This obviously will delay his development like alcohol to a fetus, so it will be interesting to see long term affects (hint: They end up looking like Toby Gerhart).
RBs: Adrian Peterson, Toby Gerhart, Lorenzo Booker – Depending on who you are, the running backs also aren’t much of a surprise. I’ll offer a little hint and tell you that the team didn’t keep a FB either, which was actually more surprising. I thought, depending on how they would juggle some things, they may have tried to get one of the other backs they featured during the preseason on the roster somehow, if for nothing more than kick or punt returns. Caleb King looked good in his one game, as did … shit … Uh, Davies? Or something? Clearly he didn’t impress enough to stick. The reality though is that Purple Jesus isn’t going anywhere and the opportunity for running backs here is pretty slim, so unless you’re shooting lightning out of the tip of your penis, chances are you won’t make the roster as a RB.
WRs: Percy Harvin, Brandon Bertrand, Michael Jenkins, Greg Camarillo, Devin Aromashodu – This group might be the highest contested position with both Camarillo and Aromashadu making the cut. I thought we’d end up with one of them, but not both, and frankly, I’m disappointed the team didn’t end up keeping a young guy with upside that could play a dual role. What about Jaymer? Or even Arceneaux? Sure, he didn’t show a TON in the preseason, but he didn’t really get tons of chances, either. The good news is both Arceneaux and rookie Stephen Burton (and Caleb King, for that matter) ended up making it to the Vikings practice squad, so hopefully we’ll get to see more of them in the future. But I look at it this way. Even if Camarillo got cut, it’s not like he’d be out of the job, with his whole lawn mowing business on the side and everything. *zing*
TEs: Visanthe Shiancoe, Jim Kleinsasser, Kyle Rudolph,
Allan Reisner – Well, Reisner has since been cut (and likely to the practice squad soon) as the Vikings claimed Xavier Adibi off of waivers over the weekend (a move I like, since I can now call him Professor X), but maybe the big news from all of this is that Reisner was kept in the first place over someone like Jeff Dugan or D’Imperio. Dugan isn’t eligible for bitch work on the practice squad, but the Guido is, which is where he ended up. This leaves the Vikings TEs as two pass catchers and one super old guy that can block. Likely, he’ll be getting a bunch of work as a converted full back when needed. Weird.
OL: Charlie Johnson, Steve Hutchinson, John Sullivan, Anthony Herrera, Phil Loadholt, Jon Cooper, DeMarcus Love, Pat Brown, Seth Olsen and Brandon Fusco – That’s a lot of people, so much so that I can’t quite make sense of it. The first five are your starts, from left to right respectively. Also, I have no idea who the hell Pat Brown is. Related to Murphy Brown? Fusco makes me laugh because I just want to call him “Brandon Fucko” and I thought it was shocking that DeGeare was released (resigned to practice squad) and Ryan Cook was released. Is that good or bad? On one hand, no more penalties! But on the other … Pat Brown? Really? And Cooper? All four feet of him? And even two rookies over the aforementioned veterans? Whatever. This unit, like my own in my pants, needs WORK.
DL: JA, Kevin Williams (suspended Weeks 1-2), Remi Ayodele, Brian Robison, Everson Griffen, Letroy Guion, Christian Ballard, Adrian Awasom, Fred Evans, D’Aundre Reed – This is a pretty good group as well, but I am a bit surprised by seeing Reed on this list. I hadn’t heard a thing about him in preseason, and with Stylez White making some big plays in the last game, I kind of thought he’d be considered. I GUESSED WRONG. The other options to keep weren’t that great, however, so it probably doesn’t matter. The one thing I learned from this is, holy shit Kevin Williams, please come back soon.
LBs: E.J. Henderson, Chad Greenway, Erin Henderson, Kenny Onatolu and Larry Dean (And now Xavier Adibi) – It is pretty surprising to me that the team only kept five linebackers, and especially with one of them being Larry Dean. I think he came in as an undrafted rookie, but I swear to the Buddah Jesus that he only appeared in camp like two hours before the Texans game. I don’t get it. He must be OUTSTANDING on special teams. And I know Onatolu gets paid there, too, which makes the release of Farwell a bit more understandable, if not still a bit nerve wracking. Because while these guys can actually also play linebacker (I would have stomped my foot SO HARD if Farwell ever had to play meaningful snaps for us at LB) I’m not sure they are better at the special teams role. Also, you have to think if Jasper Brinkley wouldn’t have been sent to IR, we never would have grabbed Adibi and/or kept Reisner or whoever else then.
CBs: Antoine Winfield, Cedric Griffin, Chris Cook, Asher Allen, Brandon Burton, Marcus Sherels – I think I am obligated to eat my hat now that Marcus Sherels has made the team. And for those cheering for the “Little Engine That Could,” you should also remember that he played for a Kevin Cosgrove-led Gophers defense, so shoot yourself in the hip right now. I guess he can return punts, so … yaaaayyyy. Burton is interesting to me, as I loved his interception against the Texans. However, the depth of Cook and Allen makes me just want to cut my wrists right now. I actually would rather have Sherels play over those two, which should tell you all you need to know.
Safeties: Husain Abdullah, Tyrell Johnson, Jamarca Sanford, Eric Frampton, Mistral Raymond – Five safeties seems too high to me (I play my the Madden depth chart, bro!) but Frampton is a good special teamer and pretty much any one of these players (except for Tyrell, obviously!) could start for the team at some point. Not that it makes the selection of these five acceptable, but it’s the truth.
Specialists: LS Cullen Loeffler, P Chris Kluwe, K Ryan Longwell – What can you say about this group? Loeffler is apparently the only player on the team who knows how to snap a ball backwards, Longwell is LONG in the tooth (pun!) but reliable, and Kluwe is only the second best player on the team. DONE DEAL.
All in all, this squad needs help, and I think I’ve mentioned where. I am interested in the potential of some of the young players, even, secretly, some of the players who aren’t so young but just have yet to show anything yet, CHRIS COOK. With some solid (see: any) coaching from this staff now instead of Childress, I’ll be interested in seeing what they can turn into. The reality is that they’re probably not good enough to get to the playoffs (the OL, LB and S will doom us) but they may be decent enough to at least make this season entertaining.
IT IS THAT HOPE I BESTOW UPON YOUR SHOULDERS NOW, DISCIPLES! GO FORTH AND MAKE US PROUD!