With five days to go until the season opener, it seems like the Vikings have finalized their practice squad, changing a few things from initial reports along the way. As it stands, the practice squad looks like the following:
Since it was last announced, the list has two new additions: Chris Greenwood, a cornerback from the Detroit Lions and Austin Wentworth, who was in camp at offensive tackle and before being cut in favor of Mike Harris, was the backup tackle—a fact that worried more than a few Vikings fans. Kendall James’ status as a draft pick didn’t protect him, and it looks like the Vikings are relatively happy with the developmental corps they have at cornerback to move forward.
Chris Greenwood is a cornerback out of Albion College, drafted in the fifth round of the 2012 draft. Appealing are his measureables—he’s a 6’1″ corner with decent length (31.5″ arms, which are just above average for a cornerback), a 40-yard dash time between 4.38 and 4.41 at his Pro Day, and incredible explosion (an astounding 43″ vertical leap and 133″ broad jump). With that are above-average agility scores (6.99 three-cone and 4.15 short shuttle) and a good bench press for his size (16 reps).
His play at Albion didn’t match his measureables—an issue for a DIII athlete—and he was relatively slow to gather, plant and drive. His East-West showing wasn’t great, and he mistimed jumps, gave up separation, and couldn’t keep up at the breaks, showing limited fluidity. A lot of this could be resolved by sinking lower in his backpedal, but he’s certainly a project. At his best, he reacts well to receivers and gets his head turned around in man coverage while also reading the quarterback with good anticipation when in zone. He has shown flashes of elite explosion, but those are more evident in the weight room than the film room.
The rest of the practice squad you’ve become familiar with, so there aren’t many new faces to talk about. Two players from last year’s practice squad made the team this year (Adam Thielen and Rodney Smith) and others were in good contention to (Justin Trattou, Kevin Murphy and Joe Banyard) while Chase Ford figures to make the roster at some point this year.
The practice squad will change throughout the year. Of the eight who made the practice squad on the initial cut last year, three were promoted (Rodney Smith, Joe Banyard and Chase Ford), one found himself on another roster (Everett Dawkins), and another was cut (Travis Bond). There were five new faces on the practice squad by the end of the year, and one of them (Justin Trattou) was himself promoted.