McLeod Bethel-Thompson leaps over a defender against the Texans. Credit: Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE

Could McLeod Bethel-Thompson Clear Waivers? Looking at who stands in the way

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As teams try to whittle their rosters down to 53 players, there are question marks for virtually every position on the Vikings.

However, there is one player in particular who has captivated many of the Minnesota faithful. Quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson became one of the preseason success stories with a couple of strong performances and a cannon of an arm. Fresh off his 193-yard showing against the Texans that ended in a near game-winning drive, fans and pundits have speculated if he had earned himself a roster spot.

And while most of the conversation has centered on whether Bethel-Thompson, Joe Webb, or Sage Rosenfels deserve to be one of the two passers behind Christian Ponder, two factors are not being considered as heavily as they should. First, it’s important to note that the Vikings have the third spot on the waiver claim list, meaning there are only two teams (the Indianapolis Colts and the St. Louis Rams) who could claim Bethel-Thompson before Minnesota if he were to be released today.

This leads us to the second factor, which is whether or not those two teams ahead of the Vikings might draft the young passer with the rocket arm. Here’s a breakdown of where those two teams stand with their quarterback situations:

Indianapolis Colts

On roster: Andrew Luck, Drew Stanton, Chandler Harnish

The Colts are pretty set at quarterback, starting with first overall pick Andrew Luck. Luck has looked every bit the part of top draft pick and successor to Peyton Manning. Behind him, the Colts have a competition brewing between two solid quarterback options. Former Lions backup Drew Stanton is competing with Chandler Harnish, who finished the preseason against the Bengals with a 112.0 passer rating. There is little to no chance the Colts would use up a practice squad spot on Bethel-Thompson.

St. Louis Rams

On roster: Sam Bradford, Kellen Clemens, Austin Davis

There’s no question about who the starting and backup quarterbacks are for the Rams. Sam Bradford has a history of injuries, but finished the preseason strong with three touchdowns in a quarter and a half. Kellen Clemens hasn’t necessarily blown anyone away with his numbers, but is the clear backup to Bradford. Rookie Austin Davis is on the bubble, but could make it on to the 53-man roster. And although St. Louis is more likely than Indianapolis to claim Bethel-Thompson should he be cut, the chance that they would make the move is slim.

Given the quarterback situations in both Indianapolis and St. Louis, the Vikings could cut Bethel-Thompson and still have a good shot at signing him to the practice squad tomorrow morning. Bethel-Thompson is the quintessential developmental quarterback, and the Vikings may very well designate him to that role.

You can follow Steve Retka on Twitter @steveretka with comments or questions.

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