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whackthepack
09-02-2004, 11:51 AM
Thought this was good and that it was worth posting.

On the bubble: Final cuts set for Sunday
Last Update: 9/1/2004 11:12:56 PM


KFAN dot com

The Vikings must release 10 more players Sunday to reach the NFL’s 53-man limit.

The roster currently stands at 65 players; the club will have two additional spots because of Kenny Mixon and Onterrio Smith’s respective suspensions.

Entering Thursday’s preseason finale at Seattle, here is the position-by-position breakdown.

* Asterisk denotes starter

QUARTERBACKS
In: Daunte Culpepper*, Gus Frerotte, Shaun Hill
On the bubble: None.

The top three are set.

Projected cut: None.

RUNNING BACKS
In: Michael Bennett*, Onterrio Smith, Moe Williams, Mewelde Moore
On the bubble: Larry Ned, Butchie Wallace

Smith’s pending four-game suspension has all but guaranteed Ned’s spot on the roster. Ned is a solid special-teams player, and could see action in Week 1 due to Bennett’s knee injury. Bennett’s absence also could open the door for Wallace, a player the Vikings want to keep on the practice squad. Wallace could spend a week or two on the active roster for depth until Bennett is healthy.

Projected cut: Wallace.

WIDE RECEIVERS
In: Randy Moss*, Nate Burleson*, Marcus Robinson, Kelly Campbell, Keenan Howry
On the bubble: Ben Nelson, Lane Danielson, Ryan Hoag

Nelson remains the front-runner for the No. 6 wide receiver spot, narrowly in front of Danielson. Problem is, the Vikings may choose to keep only five receivers. Hoag was retained to split punt-return duties this week, but must have an amazing showing on all special teams to make the roster.

Projected cut: Nelson, Hoag.

TIGHT ENDS In: Jim Kleinsasser*, Jermaine Wiggins*
On the bubble: Richard Angulo, Jeff Dugan, Richard Owens

Dugan dominated last week and Angulo is the best three-tool tight end – pass blocking, run blocking and receiving. Owens’ blocking ability and long-snapping experience has kept him in the running, but if the Vikings can’t deal him, he probably is the odd man out.

Projected cut: Owens.

OFFENSIVE LINE
In: Bryant McKinnie*, Chris Liwienski*, Matt Birk*, Dave Dixon*, Mike Rosenthal*, Cory Withrow, Nat Dorsey
On the bubble: Anthony Herrera, Adam Goldberg, Adam Haayer, Billy Conaty

Goldberg and Haayer are fighting for one spot on the line. But Haayer missed two days of practice and lost 12 pounds due to a stomach virus this week. If he can’t go, Dorsey will get the start at left tackle in place of the injured McKinnie (knee). That also would open the door for Goldberg to put clamps on the ‘swing’ (four-position) job. Undrafted rookie Herrera is “fading,” according to head coach Mike Tice, but still is a lock to make the roster. The Vikings want to deal either Withrow or Conaty, but will keep both if no deal is made.

Projected cut: Haayer.

DEFENSIVE LINE
In: Kenechi Udeze*, Kevin Williams*, Chris Hovan*, Kenny Mixon*, Steve Martin, Lance Johnstone, Chuck Wiley, Darrion Scott, Nick Rogers
On the bubble: Spencer Johnson

Johnson is caught in the same numbers crunch on the d-line, and might be a better fit on the practice squad. But Vikings officials doubt they can sneak the undrafted rookie through waivers, so the team may keep 10 linemen.

Projected cut: None.

LINEBACKERS
In: Dontarrious Thomas*, E.J. Henderson*, Chris Claiborne*, Michael Nattiel, Keith Newman, Rod Davis
On the bubble: Raonall Smith

It’s all down to this for Smith, a former second-round pick who has been a disappointment to say the least for the Vikings. He’s finally healthy, but still hasn’t shown much on special teams. The team doesn’t truly need a seventh linebacker, so Smith may be gone by Sunday.

Projected cut: Smith.

DEFENSIVE BACKS
In: Antoine Winfield*, Brian Williams*, Corey Chavous*, Brian Russell*, Ken Irvin, Rushen Jones, Tyrone Carter, Willie Offord, Derek Ross
On the bubble: Rhett Nelson, Horace Willis, Deandre’ Eiland, Jermaine Mays, Oliver Celestin

Ross has played his way off the bubble in less than a week with the team. Williams is recovering well from his knee injury, so Nelson may end up on the practice squad, unless the Vikings want to keep him around solely as an outside gunner on punt coverage. Eiland will play free safety with the second unit again Thursday, but must make his move on special teams to avoid being the first draft pick cut before the opener since 2002. The team must keep either Eiland or Celestin – or deal for a different player – until Carter returns from his knee injury. Offord also is in a fight for the top backup job, but his roster spot is secure because of his special-teams contributions.

Projected cut: Willis, Mays, Celestin.

SPECIALISTS
In: Brett Conway*, Darren Bennett*
On the bubble: Cullen Loeffler, Brody Liddiard

Liddiard is more experienced and a better blocker, but Loeffler’s pure snapping ability may be too good to pass up. This battle could come down to Thursday’s game.

Projected cut: Liddiard.

Compiled by KFAN dot com’s Tom Pelissero

whackthepack
09-02-2004, 11:59 AM
We need help at Safty, Eiland and Celestin have both looked terrible and we need some depth. I hope they can pick-up a salary camp victim and somebody that can contribute.