Don’t Forget the Vikings Surprise Cuts from a Year Ago

Vikings Can Deal With
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings unveiled a first depth chart for 2023 this week, with the preseason around the bend on Thursday night in Seattle.

The team called it ‘unofficial’ and insists the roster mains fluid. The regular season is 32 days away.

Don’t Forget the Vikings Surprise Cuts from a Year Ago

And while fans formulate roster predictions, remembering the doings of last summer is vital. Minnesota has until August 29th to prune the roster from 91 men to 53, and some lessons were learned a year ago.

These were the surprise cuts last year — and some 2023 candidates this summer.

Armon Watts (DT)

Cuts from a Year
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

At this time last year, Watts was cruising through Vikings training camp and preseason, on tap to start on the defensive line. Hell, when the 2022 first depth chart dropped, Watts was a starting defensive tackle. Michael Pierce had recently departed for the Baltimore Ravens, and Watts was the next man up.

Then, out of nowhere at the end of August, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah waived Watts, and he later joined the rival Chicago Bears.

Of course, Watts wasn’t and isn’t a Pro Bowler, so the ‘surprise’ aspect pertains strictly to Vikings fans, particularly those deep in the weeds of the team’s operations. But make no mistake — Watts’ unceremonious exit was unforeseen one year ago, especially because he performed quite well in 2021.

Watts now plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers — with Patrick Peterson and Chandon Sullivan.

Ihmir Smith-Marsette (WR)

Promising Viking Elevated
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports.

Adofo-Mensah swung a trade for Jalen Reagor with the Philadelphia Eagles last summer, and that was a wrap on Smith-Marsette’s career in purple. He was waived thereafter and later became a Chicago Bear, like Watts, and a Kansas City Chief after leaving the Bears midseason.

The man is a Super Bowl champion, although he did not play in the 2022 postseason.

Still, before the Lombardi glory, Smith-Marsette was absolutely on track to make the Vikings 53-man roster as WR4 — almost like Jalen Nailor at the moment. Nailor was drafted by Adofo-Mensah and won’t be cut, but the fans’ expectation for Smith-Marsette was similar in 2022 to Nailor now.

His waiver fell out of the sky. Smith-Marsette remains with the Chiefs.

Who Could the Wattses and Smith-Marsettes Be in 2023?

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

One must think outside the box here; nominating obvious, no-brainer roster cuts isn’t practical. Watts and Smith-Marsette were rather surprising, if not a bit controversial.

Surprise cuts or waivers this summer would likely involve players not drafted by Adofo-Mensah, so consider these active Vikings — in the same vein as Watts or Smith-Marsette cut:

  • Camryn Bynum (S)
  • Greg Joseph (K)
  • Patrick Jones II (OLB)
  • Kene Nwangwu (RB)
  • Jalen Reagor (WR)
  • Oli Udoh (OT)
  • Khyiris Tonga (NT)
  • Joejuan Williams (CB)
  • D.J. Wonnum (OLB)

And note these are likeminded cut candidates — not roster-cut predictions.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by