I know it is really early in the season to be speculating on the Minnesota Vikings 53 man roster, but from early indications in camp it appears as though a couple of the bigger name players on the team who some assume may be locks to make the team could find themselves on the outside looking in.
Here are the three players that could be somewhat surprising releases by the team:
Jerome Simpson, wide receiver (Salary: $1 mil, $50 k dead money)
- There is a lot of competition in camp at Wide Receiver this year. With guys like Adam Thielen and Rodney Smith both looking really good, the team might not want to keep a player that could be due a suspension because of his brush with the law this offseason. Simpson has struggled to keep out of legal trouble for several years now and could find himself on the outside looking in. Another thing not helping Jerome Simpson is his tendency to sometimes drop passes when wide open. Simpson will have to fight a lot harder than most expect to earn a spot this year.
Jerome Felton, fullback (Salary: $2.13 mil, $877 k dead money)
- To be honest, this has almost nothing to do with Jerome Felton’s ability. It instead is because the role of a fullback isn’t something that is typically used in many formations in new Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner’s scheme. This is made even more true when there are full bodied players that can enter the game and block if needed. Guys like Matt Asiata, Rhett Ellison, and others can do this duty and free up a roster spot for young player who can contribute more.
Christian Ponder, quarterback (Salary: $3.23 mil, $3.23 mil dead money)
- I got a little flak for suggesting this when I did my positional roster breakdowns, but I still don’t see the need to keep Ponder around if they’re just going to utilize him as a QB3. The Minnesota Vikings have already declined the 5th year option on the rookie contract of Ponder and seem content to let him walk after this year. Plus, many teams don’t even keep 3 quarterbacks on their active rosters anymore. The only way I see them keeping him around for this year is if they see him as a long term backup to rookie Teddy Bridgewater since his 2014 contract is fully guaranteed.
Combined salary of the 3 players: $6.36 million
Dead money if all 3 are released: $4.157 million
Salary cap saved if they are released: $2.203 million
(All salary information found at Spotrac.com)
So, what do you guys think? Should any or all of the three players above be released? Do you think there is a major contender for release that I overlooked? Let me know in the comments.