Wednesday, July 27, 2016

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Buried in roster cuts, the Vikings add new offensive line depth to the roster through a trade with the San Diego Chargers.

Image courtesy of vikings.com

With a flurry of cuts coming before today’s deadline where teams are required to slim their roster down to 53 players, the Vikings have made a trade with the San Diego Chargers for offensive lineman Jeremiah Sirles.

Though the official details of the trade are currently unknown, it is believed the Vikings sent a 2016 sixth round pick to the Chargers for Sirles.

Sirles, an undrafted free agent in the 2014 NFL Draft, only started two games last season at guard in place of injured Chargers lineman Johnnie Troutman. This preseason, Sirles has performed pretty well according to rankings provided by Pro Football Focus. See below for where Sirles would have ranked against other Vikings lineman had he been on the roster this preseason:

Sirles PFF Ranking
2015 Preseason rankings courtesy of ProFootballFocus.com

It is not expected Sirles will be an immediate contributor on the starting roster, but instead, a solid piece of depth to a roster currently void of any.

We will have a more in-depth breakdown of today’s roster cuts later this evening, but for now, here’s a list of the players currently believed to have been cut:

  • LB Michael Mauti
  • LB Brandon Watts
  • OL Tom Farniok
  • LB Brian Peters
  • WR Isaac Fruechte
  • OL Tyrus Thompson
  • S Anthony Harris
  • RB Dominique Williams
  • FB Blake Renaud
  • WR Ryan Whalen

  • OL David Yankey
  • OL Babatunde Aiyegbusi
  • DB Shaun Prater
  • CB Josh Thomas
  • RB DuJuan Harris
  • OG Bobby Vardaro
  • DE Leon Mackey
  • WR Donte Foster
  • DT Chigbo Anunoby

Stay tuned for more!

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The NFL is entering a significant season in 2015, as the league welcomes its first female official and its first female coach. In April, the NFL hired Sarah Thomas as one of eight new referees on staff. In July, Jen Walter joined the Arizona Cardinals staff as an intern coaching middle linebackers. Although the internship did not end in a long-term position, I would not be surprised if she finds a role soon.

Since the news about Thomas broke, I’ve had a number of people ask me my opinion on these two women pioneering their field. The question is natural, as I am pursuing a career in sports journalism, a field that tends to be more heavily dominated by men. There are certainly more and more women appearing in sports media every day, however, so I cannot draw an equal comparison.

In asking my thoughts, I think many people assumed I would be ecstatic about the decision. I think many people were surprised at my hesitation and mixed feelings.

When it comes to knowing her trade, Thomas cannot be accused of being under-qualified or under-experienced. She’s also no stranger to being the first in her field.

Thomas comes to the NFL with experience officiating at the high school level in Mississippi—she was the first woman in the Gulf Coast Football Officials Association—and 10 years later was selected as the first female referee for a major college football game. Thomas was the first woman to referee at a college Bowl game and the first to officiate in a Big Ten stadium.

Thomas, who played basketball at the University of Mobile, found herself drawn to the industry when she followed her brother to an officials meeting.

“It was life-changing for me when I saw that officials took time and pride to make the game better,” Thomas said. “That is what drew me in, especially being a former athlete. And I couldn’t have asked for better training (than in my time as a high school official in Mississippi).”

Fifteen cuts to come before 3 pm on Saturday

Image courtesy of Vikings.com
After five preseason games and countless practices through July and August, the Minnesota Vikings have one final task to complete before the regular season begins on September 14 — cutting the active roster to 53 players. On Friday, Rick Spielman and the front office began the process, trimming the roster to 68 players after waiving seven Vikings (listed in order of announcement):
  • CB Shaun Prater
  • WR Donte Foster
  • DE Leon Mackey
  • DT Chigbo Anunoby
  • RB DuJuan Harris
  • G Bobby Vardaro
  • CB Josh Thomas

Although none of the moves were officially listed on the team’s website, various reporters (Chris Tomasson, Darren Wolfson, Matt Vensel) cited league sources with the leaked information. Per the NFL’s rules, all teams must meet Saturday’s 3 pm CT deadline to trim the roster to 53 players, meaning the Vikings still need to — if they haven’t already — release 15 players today.

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Never is the business of the NFL more evident, and harsh, than these two days as hundreds of NFL players will lose their jobs and possibly their football careers.

The dream will end for 21 players for the Minnesota Vikings as they make their roster decisions to make Saturday’s 53-man roster limit. Cornerback Jabari Price will go on the suspended list, delaying any decision on his future and leaving one spot for another player.

Mike Zimmer, Norv Turner and Minnesota’s coaches and personnel staff will have some tough decisions. I believe there are about 45 players who can be considered set on the roster, leaving 29 players for eight spots. Here’s a look at what I believe the Vikings roster might look at, come Saturday afternoon before any potential additions from other teams:

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(photo used with permission)

When the 2015 NFL schedule came out, I found myself frustrated and complaining because the Vikings’ season opener doesn’t start until after 9:00 p.m. Which means I will be awake until after midnight. On a Monday. I couldn’t believe this level of inconvenience.

And then I met Erik Sandgren.

Sandgren lives in Täby, a suburb of Stockholm, Sweden. There is a seven-hour time difference between Minneapolis and Täby. When the Vikings play the 49ers on Sept. 14, Sandgren will be tuning in at 4 a.m. And suddenly, just like that, I feel like a much less dedicated fan.

Sandgren’s story is a good one. Now 35 and loving life with his wife and daughter, Sandgren first became a Vikings fan almost 20 years ago when he lived in Boise, Idaho as an exchange student. His host family, the Fends, provided Sandgren with plenty of rich experiences and helped integrate him into the U.S. culture.

As Idaho has no NFL team of its own, John Fend adopted the Denver Broncos as his team years ago. His son, Kyle, supports the Green Bay Packers (but we won’t talk much about that). Sandgren was a big fan of European soccer, and he was disappointed that the U.S. did not have a big emphasis on the sport at the time. Both being big American football fans, John and Kyle introduced the sport to Sandgren. At first, he was less than fascinated.

“I enjoyed watching the games, but I really had no tooting interest,” Sandgren recalls.

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