Vikings Release 35 Players to Form 53-Man Roster

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings had until Tuesday, 3 p.m. to get under the roster limit of 53 players. Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Vikings general manager in his second season, had to cut 25 players to do so. At the end of the day, he put together an initial 53-man roster that can change at any point.

Vikings Release 35 Players to Form 53-Man Roster

Vikings Release 35 Players to Form 53-Man Roster
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings cut 17 players on offense.

  • QB Jordan Ta’amu
  • RB DeWayne McBride
  • RB Abram Smith
  • RB Aaron Dykes
  • WR Blake Proehl
  • WR Lucky Jackson
  • WR Jacob Copeland
  • WR Trishton Jackson
  • WR Thayer Thomas
  • WR Garett Maag
  • TE Ben Sims
  • TE Colin Thompson
  • OL Josh Sokol
  • OL Jack Snyder
  • OL Alan Ali
  • OL Jarrid Williams
  • OL Christian DiLauro

Offensive guard Chris Reed stays on the NFI list and is set to miss the first four games of the regular season. He hasn’t practiced all training camp but he can be activated to return to his usual duties as backup guard by Week 5.

DeWayne McBride is perhaps the biggest surprise. He is the only drafted rookie that didn’t make the cut. Unlike last season, the Vikes opted to keep only four running backs this year (Alexander Mattison, Ty Chandler, Kene Nwangwu, and C.J. Ham). If he clears waivers and no other teams put him on the 53-man roster, he would be a slam dunk to be on the practice squad.

Viking Took
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Interestingly, the Vikings only have eight offensive linemen on the roster until Reed’s eventual return, making an acquisition likely to get that number up to nine.

Rookie tight end Ben Sims didn’t make the cut despite his strong preseason but notable is that the Vikes kept four wideouts, including both candidates to return punts, Jalen Reagor and Brandon Powell.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Vikings released 18 players:

  • DL Ross Blacklock
  • DL Esezi Otomewo
  • DL T.J. Smith
  • DL Calvin Avery
  • DL Sheldon Day
  • OLB Luiji Vilain
  • OLB Benton Whitley
  • ILB Wilson Huber
  • ILB Abraham Beauplan
  • ILB Troy Reeder
  • ILB Tanner Vallejo
  • CB Jaylin Williams
  • CB Jameson Houston
  • CB C.J. Coldon
  • CB Kalon Barnes
  • CB Tay Gowan
  • CB Joejuan Williams
  • S Jake Gervase
7 Predictions for Vikings Training Camp
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The biggest surprise here is the departure of Luiji Vilain. The edge rusher was on the roster last season but couldn’t make the team this time because the franchise opted to keep undrafted rookie Andre Carter. Vilain had a decent preseason and could generate interest on the waiver wire.

Fellow edge rusher Benton Whitley also had a strong preseason. He led the team in QB pressures, hurries, and hits, especially his performance in the final game against the Cardinals was outstanding. Defensive lineman Sheldon Day turned some head and the Vikings would probably be happy if he landed back on the taxi squad.

After releasing six cornerbacks, the Vikings are down to only five rostered players at the position, including special teams guy NaJee Thompson. Similar to the offensive line, an addition makes sense.

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Kevin O’Connell teased it after the last preseason contest but only a few folks believed him. The team kept all six safeties — Harrison Smith, Camryn Bynum, Josh Metellus, Lewis Cine, Jay Ward, and Theo Jackson — in the building, allowing defensive coordinator Brian Flores full flexibility with his defense. Trading away one of them shouldn’t be ruled out.

The Vikings have now set their initial 53-man roster. In the next few days, they will continue to make moves and potentially add players via trade or free agency to improve some weaknesses of the team.


Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt

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