Some of the players who the Vikings cut Saturday got a consolation prize yesterday with a practice squad contract. The Vikings signed 9 players on Sunday and rounded out the squad today by adding cornerback Chris Greenwood .
Let’s take a look at what makes a player eligible for the practice squad:
First, a player must have a minimum of six games – up from the current three games – on a Practice Squad in order for that season to count as one of the player’s three permissible seasons of Practice Squad service.
Second, each club will be permitted to sign a maximum of two Practice Squad players who have earned no more than two accrued seasons of free agency credit. Absent this exception, a player who has earned one or more accrued seasons would not be eligible for a Practice Squad unless the player spent fewer than nine games on a club’s 46-player active list in each of his accrued seasons.
(Taken from a statement from the NFL)
Now, let’s meet the 2014 Minnesota Vikings Practice Squad.
Mike Remmers, Offensive Tackle
In his short career, Remmers has already spent time with four different organizations. Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2012 by Denver, he was cut after the preseason. On September 11th, 2012 Remmers was picked up by Tampa Bay. The Chargers signed him off the Bucs’ practice squad on October 9th, 2013. He was released on November 23rd, and was picked up two days later by Minnesota. Remmers has appeared in one career game, with San Diego in Week 7 of last year. He’s a big guy at 6’5″, 300 lbs. It’s hard to evaluate a player when he has played in one career game, but obviously the Vikings like something about him.
Zac Kerin, Center
Kerin was signed as an undrafted free agent in May. He’s big for a center at 6’5″, 310. Kerin is strong (30 reps of 225 on the bench) and fast (5.06 40-yard dash). His drawback is technique. Kerin doesn’t use his lower body well, and has been criticized for having short arms and slow hands. There have even been whispers about possibly moving him to guard. He was used in pulling situations frequently during his college career at Toledo. Maybe Kerin, with a little bit of coaching, could become a Joe Berger-type backup at both center and guard. He’s even big enough to play tackle. A guy like that is valuable. Consider Kerin Jeff Davidson’s next project.
Donte Foster, Wide Receiver
Foster is most well known for a couple catches he made in the fourth preseason, including a spectacular grab over a defensive back. Foster is similar to Jerome Simpson in that he has a insane ups (42″ vertical). He was signed as undrafted free agent after his college career at Ohio University. Definitely very raw, but a flashy, superb athlete. With some refining, Foster could be a legitimate NFL receiver.
Joe Banyard, Running Back
Like Foster, Banyard had a coming-out party in Week 4 of the preseason. After going undrafted in the 2012 draft, he was signed by Jacksonville. He was cut and signed with New Orleans in June 2012. After being cut by the Saints in September 2012, the Vikings snatched Banyard up and he spent the rest of the season on the practice squad. 2013 was a whirlwind year for the running back; he was cut on August 31st, and signed to the practice squad on September 1st. He was released again on the 4th, only to be signed back to the practice squad on September 10th. On December 14th, he was added to the active roster, and was cut on the 16th. On the 18th, he was re-signed to the practice squad. He gave Matt Asiata a run for his money in training camp, and if Asiata gets hurt, Banyard is the next man up.
Isame Faciane, Defensive Tackle
Faciane is another 2014 undrafted free agent on the practice squad. He played college ball at Florida International, a three-year starting DT. Like many guys on practice squads, Faciane is raw but has potential to grow and become faster and stronger. Vikings defensive line coach Andre Patterson coached Faciane while at Florida International. Faciane is versatile, with the ability to line up at nose tackle as well as 3-technique. With some development, he could find himself on the roster next season.
Chase Ford, Tight End
Ford might not be on the practice squad for long. After breaking his foot a couple days prior to the opening of training camp, Ford returned just last week. He was still expected to make the roster, but apparently Norv Turner hasn’t seen enough to put Ford on the active roster. In a couple weeks, he could return to playing on Sundays. Ford was signed by the Eagles two years ago as an undrafted free agent. After the Eagles cut him, he was signed by the Vikings and joined their practice squad. Ford made the team out of camp last year, and appeared in 9 games, catching 11 passes for 133 yards. He opened some eyes when Kyle Rudolph was out with an injury. We’ll see if Ford can return to form in time to contribute to the Vikings’ offense.
Kendall James, Cornerback
After seeing Kendall James play for three years at the University of Maine, I was surprised he didn’t make the roster. Not many people expected him to, but James has blinding speed along with good coverage abilities. A 6th-round pick, he is raw but I think he could find himself on the active roster at some point over the course of this season. He’d be very valuable as a gunner on special teams, probably more so than Jabari Price or Shaun Prater.
Chris Greenwood, Cornerback
2014 will be Chris Greenwood’s third year in the league. He was a 5th-round pick in 2012 by Detroit out of Division 3 Albion. His past two years have been riddled by hamstring and hernia injuries. Greenwood spent his rookie year on the Lions’ practice squad and began 2013 on it, but was signed to Dallas’s 53-man roster for several games before returning to Detroit’s practice squad. Later in 2013, he was added to the Lions’ roster and appeared in a few games. He was just cut by Detroit. Greenwood profiles as a big, tough cornerback with a strong tackling ability. Maybe he’ll get some looks if a defensive back is injured.
Justin Trattou, Defensive End
Trattou was signed by the Vikings and added to their active roster at the end of last season, when they were lacking a backup defensive end. He appeared in one game and got one tackle. Before that, he spent one-and-a-half years with the Giants, playing in 11 games and getting 4 tackles. Trattou looked pretty good throughout camp and in the preseason (had a sack at Tennessee). He never really had a chance to make the active roster as Corey Wootton and Scott Crichton outperformed the third-year veteran. If Crichton is struggling, the Vikings could carry five defensive ends and add Trattou to the defensive line rotation.
Kain Colter, Wide Receiver
Colter, most notable for his union efforts at Northwestern, is an inexperienced wide receiver. He did grab a few reps in college out wide, but was mostly the Wildcats’ quarterback. The undrafted free agent is obviously a very smart guy, which should help with route running and learning plays. He’s also extremely athletic, with good returning ability and speed. Colter’s weakness is blocking; he lacks strength and has short arms. It’d be interesting to see Norv Turner create a wildcat package with Colter at QB. He has a good chance of making the roster next year as a shifty slot receiver and maybe a punt returner.