The Vikings are taking the opposite approach to the 12 men in the huddle strategy taken two seasons ago in the NFC Championship contest.
Instead of an extra man, the Vikings will go into Sunday’s game against Carolina with one vacant spot on the roster as a result of Chris Cook’s suspension and the subsequent league decision to grant the Vikings a waiver until the matter is settled.
Leslie Frazier indicated on Friday that the opening would not be filled prior to Sunday’s game.
This really just means one less player will be deactivated prior to kickoff than normal.
Stephen Burton, who has taken the roster spot of recently waived Bernard Berrian (who is still jobless), could actually see some playing time. According to Leslie Frazier, there is a chance that Burton is the team’s kick returner if Percy Harvin (ribs) sees a limited role and Lorenzo Booker (concussion) is inactive.
Burton is getting high praise from receivers coach George Stewart and even goes so far as to compare him to Terrell Owens.
“When he was in school, it’s man against boys,” Stewart raved about Burton. “He’s a big kid. He’s a lot like Terrell at Tennessee-Chattanooga. Big athlete. Very raw, but he’s getting better every day.”
Burton apparently is a fan of Owens’ and is not offended one bit by the flattering comparison.
T.O. was my man,” Burton said. “He did it all. Great receiver, great routes, great catching. He shows passion for the game. He was my idol.”
Owens, who reportedly is dealing with plenty of personal problems at present, has not been linked to the Vikings as a possible free agent acquisition despite the fact that Stewart coached him in San Fran the year he was drafted. It isn’t too much of a surprise, however, since the Vikings are looking to shed the team of older, stop gap players and (hopefully) those players that come with baggage.