Austin Wentworth Release Shows How Miserable Vikings’ O-Line Was In 2014


The Vikings released five players yesterday in order to make room on the roster for newly signed rookies. One of the men being cut was offensive tackle Austin Wentworth, a player who made a not-inconsiderable contribution to the team in 2014.

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The decision to cut Wentworth is worth noting only because it points up how miserable the Vikings’ offensive line situation really was last year. In case that wasn’t already obvious enough.

An undrafted free agent out of Fresno State last year, Wentworth failed to make the team coming out of camp, but was picked up for the practice squad.

After a rash of injuries left the Vikings very short-handed on the offensive line, the team was forced to elevate Wentworth from the practice squad to the active roster. Despite his total lack of experience, Wentworth was pressed into service against the Buccaneers week 8.

In the end Wentworth would see only 7 offensive snaps all season, so it wasn’t like he was a major cog in the machine. But the fact that Minnesota was forced to play Wentworth at all only shows how meager their depth was along the offensive line.

If you want some idea of how bad Austin Wentworth really was, you got it yesterday when the Vikings dumped him in the first round of cuts. A player who actually saw game action on the offense, and received 25 special teams snaps as well, couldn’t even stick on the 90-man roster after the draft and UDFA signings.

Now you understand why the Vikings targeted the offensive line so heavily in the draft, picking up T.J. Clemmings in the fourth round, Tyrus Thompson in the sixth and Austin Shepherd in the seventh.

After last year’s debacle, Rick Spielman was determined not to get caught forcing marginally talented undrafted practice squad players into the line-up. This year at least the Vikings will have some legitimately talented drafted rookies to use if push comes to shove.

A lot is still up in the air about the Vikings’ roster going into 2015 but one thing I do know: they have a lot more offensive line talent going into this season than they did last year. Talent doesn’t necessarily equal performance of course, but I’d rather have multiple young, promising players to choose from than a bunch of scrubs and cast offs.

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