Wednesday, October 7, 2015

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The Minnesota Vikings, who typically have made moves late in the day on cutdown day, have made two moves that have inspired the creation of this cut tracker and a rapid reaction. The first is to put Jamarca Sanford on injured reserve (not designated for return) and to cut nose tackle Fred Evans, which is a pretty big surprise.

Sanford’s move to injured reserve was a surprise. What about the other cuts?

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The cut list is still up and running, and as of midnight on Friday is completely up to date, barring a rumor about an offensive tackle battle in San Diego. As a result, we can begin to do some analysis of the cutdowns. Some teams have not done them as of this posting (Carolina, Cleveland, Green Bay, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Minnesota, New England, both New Yorks and San Francisco), and no one has a complete list done, though Jacksonville seems closest. The fact that some players have not been cut yet from every team is a critical flaw in any real analysis, but this was a quick outgrowth of the work I was already doing, and seemed interesting enough.


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This is my NFL cuts tracker, which I will update throughout the day.  Notes are my own, and positions are as projected for the Vikings. So a 3-4 defensive end is listed as a defensive tackle, and a 3-4 outside linebacker as a defensive end. That doesn’t always end up the case, but is as accurate as I can make it.

If I miss anyone, let me know in the comments. Hopefully this format is easier to navigate (sort by different columns at the bottom).

The Minnesota Vikings have announced that the NFL has upheld its three-game ban of Jerome Simpson for his arrest while on probation. Simpson, who for much of the season was the Vikings’ receiving leader last year, finished the year with 726 receiving yards but only one touchdown. Of note, his efficiency was not all that different, at the end of the year, from Greg Jennings or Cordarrelle Patterson—each had 1.61 yards per pass route run (45th of 94 receivers).

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He will be allowed to resume practice with the Vikings starting September 22. In the mean time, it’s generally expected that this opens another spot for a wide receiver on the roster, presumably Adam Thielen or Rodney Smith, who have finished the preseason in excellent form.

Jerome Simpson’s violation is generally understood to be a DUI, but he was actually convicted for careless driving and refusing to submit to a chemical test, though he was initially charged with a DUI instead of careless driving. This occurred while he was on probation in Kentucky, where his home is, as a result of his prior conviction for mailing himself two pounds of marijuana. He is now on probation in Hennepin County for two years as well.

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After a relatively successful first half, the Minnesota Vikings’ backups have looked pretty decent against the Tennessee Titans’ backups. The takeaways, as you’d expect, are about as shallow as you’d expect, but useful to dissect at any rate.

First, the second-team offense featured Teddy Bridgewater but didn’t use him very much. The first drive wasn’t particularly spectacular but neither was it worrisome. Running backs Joe Banyard and Jerick McKinnon did well on that drive to advance the ball and were probably the feature of the offense. After that, he certainly looked starting caliber, but not incisive. His biggest issues were decisions to throw to Jerick McKinnon deep when he was covered tightly and a questionable decision to throw out to Adam Thielen on a curl—the pass was inaccurate and he probably expected a different route.

Other than that, his passes were thrown with better timing and velocity than before and he checked down judiciously when the pass wasn’t there, McKinnon throw aside. That, and his corner touchdown pass (ANOTHER corner touchdown pass after the initial failure) was fantastic, thrown excellently to Adam Thielen who found a way to get half a step besides pass interference.


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