Breaking Down A Busy Weekend

Well, I would’ve loved to do up-to-the-minute updates all weekend long for you all, but alas, Broadway’s The Lion King trumped blogging in the eyes of Mrs. Warwas.  What can I say… Hakuna Matata.

The NFL was very busy this weekend as teams made their final roster cuts and established their practice squads.  While the process may still be ongoing for a little while, here is an analytical look at some of the major points surrounding the Vikings decisions this weekend.

THE SIGN OF A GOOD DRAFT

All five of the Vikings draft picks of 2009 made the roster.  Phil Loadholt is expected to be an immediate starter.  Percy Harvin and Asher Allen will both be on the field quite often, and are expected to shine on special teams.  Jasper Brinkley and Jamarca Sanford did enough to earn backup spots and are expected to contribute on special teams.

Let’s be honest, there is no way that the Vikings were going to cut Harvin, Loadholt, or Allen so it’s too early to call this a great draft.  Those three were pretty much handed roster spots on a silver platter, and the true value of this draft class will be judged ultimately on the long term success those three have. 

However, the fact that all five made it onto the final roster is a very good sign that we may have just had one of our better drafts.

THE MIGHTY DUGAN

Jeff Dugan has been a mainstay on the Vikings roster since 2004, and it would be perfectly understandable if you had never heard of him.  The backup tight end and fullback only has 17 career receptions and 6 career carries.  He has 123 total yards after 47 games on the Vikings roster.  So how does someone so unspectacular stick to a roster for six straight seasons?

Well, it’s a matter of versatility.  Garrett Mills was vying for the third tight end spot, but has been chronically injured.  Jake Nordin was also aiming for that same spot but after being brought in late and putting out only a serviceable preseason performance he was not thought of as the answer.  Possible backup fullback Nehemiah Broughton also put out only pedestrian performances.

So this is where the versatility and numbers game works in Dugan’s favor.  Instead of signing two utterly mediocre backups for each position, the Vikings saved a roster spot for someone with more potential by allowing Dugan to serve as a depth player at both tight end and fullback.

ADDRESSING NEXT YEAR’S NEEDS THIS YEAR

If the Vikings lose Chester Taylor to free agency, it may be safe to assume the Vikings would be in the hunt for a new running back next offseason.  If the Vikings lose both Brett Favre and Tarvaris Jackson next offseason, then the Vikings may be looking a little desperate at QB in 2010. 

By getting both Ian Johnson and John David Booty through waivers and onto the practice squad, the Vikings may have just added to their ability to at least partly address the running back and quarterback needs of 2010.  I’m not saying that the Vikings will pass on Jevon Snead in the draft because of Booty’s presence on the roster.  I’m merely saying that getting these two guys on the practice squad will give them more options when free agency and the draft roll around.

CENTERS OF ATTENTION

Jon Cooper managed to make the final 53 man roster.  A day later he was cut after the Vikings claimed former Broncos center Kory Lichtensteiger off of waivers.  A day later Jon Cooper was put on the practice squad and the Vikings removed Drew Radovich.

Cooper was the only undrafted free agent to make the final cut and, even if it was short-lived, it was a major accomplishment for him.  Childress said, “I still love Coop. He’s a competitive guy and [Sunday’s move] doesn’t change at all how I feel about him. There was another guy [Lichtensteiger] out there that fit the bill and had to be a part of our 53 and didn’t have practice squad eligibility.”

Lichtensteiger was a 4th round pick for the Broncos last year.  He appeared in all 16 games but had no starts.  At 6’ 3” and 295 lbs, he is expected to be the primary backup at center and also be able to play guard if need be.

LOOKING AT NEXT OFFSEASON

As someone who truly obsesses over the NFL offseason and loves the draft almost as much as he loves a good playoff game, let’s take a quick look at how the Vikings are shaping up to enter next offseason.

Ray Edwards is the only starter who could be a free agent after the season.  Edwards is often the butt of jokes regarding his big mouth, but I suspect he’ll have a huge year this year.  It wont be cheap for the Vikes to keep him, but he is shaping up to be the answer at left end.  Depending on what happens with the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Edwards may only become a restricted free agent.

Other notable players who are entering their contract year include Tarvaris Jackson, Ryan Cook, Eric Frampton, Artis Hicks, Chester Taylor, Karl Paymah, Benny Sapp, and Bobby Wade.  While the Vikings might make a proactive attempt to re-sign players like Chester Taylor and Artis Hicks this year still, it seems likely that a wait-and-see approach will be used in regards to the long term status of these players.

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3 Responses to “Breaking Down A Busy Weekend”

  1. […] Read more from the original source: Breaking Down A Busy Weekend […]

  2. bridgit says:

    Mrs. Warwas takes precedence over blogging about the Vikings? Where’s your priorities? It’s football season!

  3. Adam Warwas says:

    Mrs. Warwas is always the priority, football or no football 🙂

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