Roster cuts will be starting soon and there are several Vikings who are firmly on the bubble. These five players could really use a big performance Friday night vs. San Diego to help their cases for staying. It’s also possible it’s too late for these guys.
1. Lex Hilliard
Rick Spielman has mentioned that he would prefer the Vikings’ #3 running back to also be a fullback. Lex Hilliard would seem a versatile enough player to fill this dual role but unfortunately he hasn’t had a great preseason. Then there’s Matt Asiata, who is also able to play fullback and halfback. Asiata has emerged the last couple weeks and is making a serious push to win a roster spot. Hilliard needs to step up his game to fend off Asiata. He should get a fair number of carries in the second half after the starters are pulled.
2. Andrew Sendejo
What advantage does Eric Frampton actually have in the battle for the last safety spot over Andrew Sendejo, outside of Frampton being a favorite of special teams coach Mike Priefer? I would say none. In fact, Sendejo probably has more value because he can hold his own at safety and perform in special teams, while Frampton is strictly a special teams player (as his brutal coverage in the second half of the Bills game demonstrated). If it were me I’d keep Sendejo as the fifth safety and send Frampton packing but then again I have no particular loyalty to Frampton.
3. Manny Arceneaux
Manny showed up better than Devin Aromashodu against the Bills but then again, Aromashodu didn’t get a lot of help from Joe Webb, so it’s probably not fair to assess based on that. Aromashodu is reportedly getting the extra reps at split end with the first team while the Vikings segue Jerome Simpson into suspension so, despite last Friday, Arceneaux looks like he’s the one on the outside looking in. For now.
4. Jeff Charleston
If the Vikings keep six defensive ends, which is a distinct possibility given Alan Williams’ whole hockey line plan, then Jeff Charleston has a shot to make the squad. He will need to beat out Nick Reed for that sixth spot though, and right now Nick Reed is whupping him all up and down the field. Reed has actually been one of the nice surprises of the preseason with his quick spin moves and general disruptiveness (against second- and third-team linemen I grant you). Charleston might want to show up tonight if he hopes to still have a job come cut down day.
5. Mickey Shuler
Shuler’s best friend right now is John Carlson’s bad knee. Carlson still can’t play and as a result, Shuler is getting a chance to show. It’s still probably going to be Reisner behind Rudolph and Carlson with Rhett Ellison as the H-back but you never know, Shuler could still impress somebody. And what if Carlson’s knee doesn’t start coming around? Shuler could make the roster by default. I’m starting to wonder if we’ll ever see Carlson, quite frankly. Dude gets hurt a lot.