Vikings trim roster to 53
MINNEAPOLIS--Four months later, the Vikings' draft doesn't look as good. Of the eight players selected last spring, three were waived when the 53-man roster was set Saturday for the regular season. One was German wide receiver Moritz Bohringer, a...
MINNEAPOLIS-Four months later, the Vikings' draft doesn't look as good.
Of the eight players selected last spring, three were waived when the 53-man roster was set Saturday for the regular season. One was German wide receiver Moritz Bohringer, a sixth-round pick who got plenty of publicity but did next to nothing in the preseason.
Others draftees failing to make a deep Minnesota team were guard Willie Beavers, taken in the fourth round, and defensive end Stephen Weatherly, picked in the seventh. The waived draftees will be looked at for the practice squad, with Bohringer said to be a strong candidate.
"Everything is OK," Bohringer said about being let go. "I'm fine."
The Vikings made 23 moves to get from 75 to 53 players, needing to make an extra one because of the acquisition of quarterback Sam Bradford from Philadelphia. Five players were reported Friday to have been told they would be waived.
The biggest-name player let go was Michael Griffin, a 10-year veteran waived with an injury designation. Griffin, who had been battling Andrew Sendejo to start at strong safety, had suffered a back injury in practice a few days before an Aug. 28 preseason game against San Diego and reinjured it in that game.
"I tried to play (against) San Diego and I was hurt already,'' said Griffin, 31, a two-time Pro Bowl selection when he played the previous nine years with Tennessee. "It's a business, and I'm going to roll with it. It's football. It happens.''
Also waived with an injury designation was cornerback Jabari Price, who suffered a knee injury in Thursday's preseason finale against Los Angeles. Griffin and Price are bound for injured reserve.
Among the cuts was former University of Minnesota wide receiver Isaac Fruechte. He said he's sure he'll end up on the practice squad unless he's claimed off waivers.
Others told Saturday they would be let go were quarterback Joel Stave, running backs C.J. Ham and Jhurell Pressley, tight end Kyle Carter, guard Isame Faciane, fullback Blake Renaud, nose tackle Kenrick Ellis, cornerback Tre Roberson, defensive tackle Toby Johnson and linebackers Jake Ganus and Brandon Watts.
Quarterback Taylor Heinicke, who suffered a cut tendon in his left foot when he accidentally kicked in a glass door at his home in July, will go on the reserve/non-football injury list and can't practice or play for at least the first six weeks of the season. Heinicke is said to be ahead in his rehabilitation, but there is now no need to rush him with Bradford having been acquired and likely to eventually take over for Shaun Hill as the starter.
It was reported Friday that told they would be let go were quarterback Brad Sorensen, tackle Carter Bykowski and defensive linemen Zach Moore, Travis Raciti and Denzell Perine.
Stave, Ham, Carter and Roberson also were said to be strong candidates for the practice squad. Pressley, who returned a kickoff for 106 yards for a touchdown and caught a 28-yard pass for a score against the Rams, was not invited to be on the practice squad because the Vikings prefer to hold onto a bigger back in Ham.
Griffin and Price can't play for the Vikings this season. When asked if he could be healthy enough to play this season for another team if turned loose by Minnesota, Griffin said he must get a second opinion on his back.
"Of course, you want to play right now, but the most important is my health,'' Griffin said. "I already got an epidural shot. I got to take care of that situation with my back.''
Griffin signed a one-year contract last spring with a base salary of $1.65 million, with $500,000 guaranteed. He didn't want to speculate on whether he could have beaten out Sendejo had he not gotten hurt.
"It was a blessing to have an opportunity,'' Griffin said. "Every opportunity you have, that's all you can ask for. I wish (the Vikings) well.''
Watts, a seventh-round pick in 2014, doesn't know if there is a chance he could return to the Vikings. He was waived before the start of last season but ended up being brought back.
"They just said it's a waiting game,'' Watts said. "Injuries happen, people get waived. We'll see.''
In 2014, Watts was among nine Minnesota draft picks out of 10, to initially make the team. Last year, it also was nine of 10.
The Vikings last April discovered perhaps some hidden gems in the draft who easily made the final cut in tight end David Morgan, a sixth-round pick, and safety Jayron Kearse, a seventh-round selection. The overall percentage, though, wasn't as good, one reason being Minnesota's improved depth.