The emotions of cut-down day can run the gamut – both on Black Friday and the day after.
The Vikings continue to reshape their roster, signing players back to the practice squad and adding players via trade and waivers. As reported yesterday, the Vikings agreed to a deal with Arizona for cornerback A.J. Jefferson. Today, the Vikings adjusted their 53-man roster further by claiming offensive lineman Mark Asper off waivers from Buffalo.
Asper, a 6-6, 319-pound lineman, was a versatile player at the University of Oregon. He was a three-year starter and played both right guard and right tackle. He is a rookie, but he isn’t that young – he is 27 years old, is married and has two children. He took a two-year Mormon mission to Spain after high school and redshirted in 2007 before becoming a full-time starter in 2009.
In order to make room for Jefferson and Asper on the 53-man roster, the Vikings released CB Zackary Bowman and OT Patrick Brown.
The process is underway to fill out the practice squad and here are the signings we have to date:
DT Chase Baker was given an opportunity to show what he could do with extended playing time in the preseason finale Thursday against Houston. While it wasn’t enough to save his spot on the 53-man roster, he showed enough during the offseason program and training camp to be brought back on the practice squad.
CB Bobby Felder was a long-shot from the beginning with the Vikings because of the depth at the position and the veteran players like Bowman and Chris Carr that the Vikings wanted to take a long look at. Felder’s opportunities to climb up the depth chart were very limited. With both Bowman and Carr released, Felder will get his chance to prove himself as a practice squad member and wait in the wings for his opportunity.
OL Tyler Holmes wasn’t among the signings the Vikings made immediately after the draft, which pushed him down the depth chart when he joined the team following the rookie minicamp in early May. He had to fight his way up the depth chart throughout the offseason program, training camp and the preseason. While he didn’t make the final roster, the team thought enough of his potential to bring him back for a longer look with the coaching staff and more personalized work to see if he can be a good fit in the Vikings’ scheme.
RB Jordan Todman was a player that the Vikings have had interest in since he was on the San Diego practice squad and the Vikings made a late-season raid of the Chargers practice squad last year to land him. Injuries kept him from fully showing what he could do, but his 12-carry, 121-yard performance Thursday night that included a 76-yard touchdown burst showed flashes of his rare speed. While the Vikings chose to go with between-the-tackles threat Matt Asiata on the 53-man roster, don’t be stunned if Todman ends up on the 53-man roster at some point during the season.
WR Tori Gurley isn’t a speedster, but the Vikings want to get a look at him as a member of their practice squad after he cleared waivers from the Green Bay Packers. At 6-foot-4, 232 pounds, he is an intriguing prospect that should get a few weeks to show what he can do on the practice squad. The Vikings didn't officially announce his signing, but Gurley confirmed it on Twitter.
CUT WEEKEND NOTES
The Vikings three open spots on the practice squad that they will likely fill in the coming hours and days. They don't start practicing again until Monday.
The Vikings lost wide receiver Emmanuel Arceneaux to the Washington Redskins. The Redskins signed Arceneaux to their practice squad after he turned down an offer from the Vikings.
There were a ton of big names on the final cut list, but there was some notables including QBs Kellen Clemens (St. Louis), Josh Johnson (San Francisco), Josh McCown (Chicago) and Seneca Wallace (Cleveland); RBs Tim Hightower (Washington) and D.J. Ware (New York Giants); FBs Rock Cartwright (San Francisco), Jacob Hester (San Diego) and Ovie Mughelli (St. Louis); WRs Anthony Armstrong (Washington), Deion Branch (New England), Rashied Davis (Chicago), Derek Hagan (Buffalo) and WR Roscoe Parrish (Oakland); OL Dan Koppen (New England) and Pat McQuistan (Dallas); DLs Jacques Cesaire (San Diego), Vernon Gholston (St. Louis) and Amobi Okoye (Tampa Bay); LBs Ikaika Alama-Francis (San Francisco) and Gary Guyton (Miami); CBs Drayton Florence (Denver), CB Alphonso Smith (Detroit) and Leigh Torrence (Jacksonville); S Ohiomogho Atogwe (Philadelphia) and K John Kasay (New Orleans).
Five former Vikings were among those who hit the open market Friday: LB Xavier Adibi (Chicago), WR Greg Camarillo, DE Darrion Scott (Washington) and WR Juaquin Iglesias (Houston).
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.