The Minnesota Vikings had to get the roster down to 80 players on Tuesday. After trading for Nick Mullens on Monday, the purple team had 86 players on the team and therefore had to clear six spots. They started on Monday by cutting wideout Albert Wilson and waiving injured defensive lineman Julian Taylor. If another team doesn’t claim Taylor, he’ll go to the Vikings injured reserve, and his season will be over.
General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah had to clear four more roster spots on Tuesday, and the team announced the moves.
The Vikings signed Shaun Beyer as a depth tight end just before the start of training camp. He didn’t see any action in the preseason, so his waiving shouldn’t be a surprise. Before he was on the Vikings’ roster, Beyer was a tight end on the Broncos practice squad in 2021, his rookie season. The remaining tight ends on the roster are Irv Smith, Johnny Mundt, Ben Ellefson, Zach Davidson, and rookie Nick Muse.
A move that is a little more surprising is the departure of Harrison Hand. The 23-year-old was a 2020 fifth-round draft pick by the former GM, Rick Spielman. He appeared in 23 games for the Vikings in the last two seasons and played 165 defensive snaps and over 200 on special teams.
Hand started one game, the season finale against the Detroit Lions in 2020. His lone pick came against Drew Brees on Christmas 2020. He was considered to fight for a roster spot against other cornerbacks like Nate Hairston and Parry Nickerson, mainly because he can also play in the slot. Hand had a sneaky good game against the 49ers, but it wasn’t enough to stay on the roster.
The Vikings had to make two more moves to get down to 80 spots but didn’t need to release another player. They just moved Blake Proehl and Ryan Connelly from the active PUP list to the reserve PUP list, the physically unable to perform list.
The two will no longer count against the 80-man roster. The flip side is that they won’t be available in the first four regular season games. They probably wouldn’t be available anyway, as they both recover from torn ACLs suffered last year. After the first four games, the players can be activated.
All NFL teams must reduce their rosters from 80 to the NFL regular season maximum of 53 by Tuesday, August 30th.
The front office has to make a lot of tough decisions. For example, what will they do with Kellen Mond? If they release him to move him to the practice squad, there’s a good chance that someone else will pick him up. However, the question is if he’s even worth keeping on the roster as a QB3.
Another interesting position is the wide receiver group. Jefferson, Thielen, and Osborn are obviously safe. It’s likely that Ihmir Smith-Marsette will be on the roster as well. Now, the Vikings can keep one or two additional players. After Wilson’s release, that leaves Olabisi Johnson, Trishton Jackson, Myron Mitchell, and Jalen Nailor in the competition for the final spots. Special teams star Dan Chisena is also in the mix.
If the Vikings want to keep three quarterbacks and six or more wideouts, it will be tough to keep five running backs. Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison, Kene Nwangwu, rookie Ty Chandler and C.J. Ham are currently all on the roster with the expectations to stay there. However, it’s unclear if the Vikings have enough room to keep them all.
The final component is the cap space. Executive vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski is one of the best cap guys in the NFL. He’ll be one of the main decision-makers from a business standpoint.
The last decision will be made by general manager Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell. The duo must make tough decisions to form the best possible 53-man roster.
Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt