Vikings Reveal 1st Surprise Roster Cut

7 Predictions for Vikings Training Camp
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings and 31 NFL teams have until Tuesday at 3:00 pm CST to shave rosters from 90 players to 53.

Many unexpected roster cuts have hit the NFL this week, and the Vikings fired up their first example, reportedly waiving outside linebacker Luiji Vilain.

Vikings Reveal 1st Surprise Roster Cut

The Athletic‘s Alec Lewis tweeted on the X app Tuesday morning, “The Vikings have waived Luiji Vilain, per a source. A surefire practice squad candidate unless he gets claimed.”

Reveal 1st Surprise
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports.

Vilain indeed will become a practice squad candidate in theory. He must first clear waivers, which feels like a bit of a longshot if general managers and coaches watched his preseason performance.

Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah found Vilain via undrafted free agency last year, the keynote UDFA addition of the cycle. The young defender even made the 2022 roster, a surprising development as many had him pegged for the practice squad last year. For now, it seems predictions were flip-flopped; most Vikings fans thought Vilain was safe for the 53-man trimdown in 2023.

Vikings to Showcase
Minnesota Vikings Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center. Flores was hired in February 2023 to take over for Ed Donatel after Minnesota finished 30th in points allowed.

Minnesota employs a different defensive coordinator this year in Brian Flores, who evidently has a different pass-rushing vision per personnel than Ed Donatell in 2022. Most won’t object, however, as the Vikings defense was lousy a season ago, ranking 30th in points allowed and 31st in yards allowed.

Vilain tallied 3 tackles, 3 QB hits, and a sack versus the Seattle Seahawks reservist players in this year’s first preseason game, a commendable effort for a player relatively unknown to casual Vikings fans. Minnesota will need credible EDGE depth behind Danielle Hunter and Marcus Davenport this season, and Vilain, at least in the preseason, seemed on track for the active roster.

The Wake Forest alumnus played 34 defensive snaps for the 2022 Vikings in three games. He was the 2022 version of the Ivan Pace Jr. and rookie defender Andre Carter II, two of the Vikings top UDFAs in 2023.

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Here’s the Vikings current EDGE group as of 11:30 am CST on August 29th:

OLB1: Danielle Hunter
OLB2: Marcus Davenport
OLB3: Patrick Jones II
OLB4: D.J. Wonnum
OLB5: Benton Whitley
OLB6: Andre Carter II

That list will likely dwindle to four or five names by the end of the day.

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Vilain was marvelous at Wake Forest in 2021, tallying 8 sacks and 9 tackles for loss in 12 games. Before that, he was recruited by and played at Michigan.

Vilain’s waiver may signal a regular season roster spot for the aforementioned Carter II or Whitley.

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).

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