I don’t know about you but I just can’t get enough practice squad updates. Here’s one for Wednesday (straight from the Wobby’s mouth or at least his Twitter): The Vikings have dumped DT Cedric McKinley and FB Matt Asiata and replaced them with LB Tyrone McKenzie and WR Dominique Johnson.
Johnson had previously been on the Vikings 90-man roster, but was cut when they signed LB Kyle O’Donnell (who himself was eventually let go). McKenzie is a more interesting case: He went into the preseason as, in some people’s minds, the favorite to start at middle linebacker for Tampa Bay, but ended up being released. Many Bucs fans were shocked by the decision to let McKenzie go. Bucs Nation said of the move:
This release comes out of nowhere, and I cannot in any way justify it. McKenzie was clearly the second-best middle linebacker on the team. This move makes this team weaker, and I really don’t understand it. I like Mason Foster, having a quality backup behind a rookie who is still learning the position is key.
The Vikings of course have struggled with linebacker depth issues ever since Jasper Brinkley got hurt. They signed Xavier Adibi last week but he is more of an outside man, unlike Brinkley who was going to be the primary MLB backup. McKenzie, if he ends up being promoted to the 53-man roster, would qualify as the only legitimate middle linebacker behind E.J. Henderson.
I would be curious to know why the Buccaneers cut McKenzie, who is clearly highly regarded by a lot of people who follow the team. If he really is that good, I imagine his stay on the practice squad will not be a long one. Obviously his familiarity with the Cover-2 makes him even more attractive to the Vikings. He’s one to watch.
On Asiata and McKinley: Nice having you guys around. Good luck in the future.