Vikings Release 2 Players

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The Minnesota Vikings activated wide receiver Justin Jefferson on Tuesday, one day after the club lost to the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football, and he’ll return in 12 days against the Las Vegas Raiders.

Minnesota first has its bye and will use the week to rest, regroup, and retool.

Vikings Release 2 Players

And to make room for Jefferson on the active roster, the Vikings said goodbye, at least temporarily, to two players.

N’Keal Harry

Minnesota signed Harry on August 6th, a transaction that fell out of the sky because most of the team’s fans believed the Vikings were somewhat deep at wide receiver. Harry brought former 1st-Round draft stock to the table, and some felt his resume and performance at training camp could launch the 25-year-old to a roster spot.

Vikings Release 2
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver N’Keal Harry addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center during 2023 Training Camp. Harry joined the Vikings in August of 2023 and previously played for the New England Patriots and Chicago Bears. Harry joined the NFL in Round 1 of the 2019 NFL Draft.

But Minnesota released Harry 18 days later, re-signed him to the practice squad on September 4th, and promoted the ex-Patriot to the active roster when Jefferson hit injured reserve. It’s been a ride.

Harry hasn’t been targeted in the Vikings’ offense in 2023, playing 23 offensive snaps and 49 special teams plays. Some thought he’d earn a somewhat prominent role, perhaps as a WR4, when Jefferson hurt his hamstring, but that never materialized.

Prominent WR Unlikely
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Like many Vikings’ releases and waivers, Harry could be added back to the practice squad later this week.

Sean Mannion

The Vikings have three healthy quarterbacks: Joshua Dobbs, Nick Mullens, and Jaren Hall. Oddly enough, it’s a crapshoot to determine who will start after the bye week. It could realistically be either of the three options, as Dobbs, the for-now starter, struggled tremendously at home versus the Bears.

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What to know for sure? It won’t be Mannion. With health intact, sans Kirk Cousins of course, Minnesota doesn’t need four quarterbacks attached to the roster. Mannion was signed for emergency depth on October 11th and never saw a regular season field.

The Vikings have signed Mannion five separate times, a now-journeyman passer who was a part of the Seattle Seahawks roster (2022). Last summer, amid roster cutdowns, the Vikings appeared to cut ties with Mannion for good after a poor preseason performance, but that declaration was apparently premature. Minnesota brought Mannion back this go-round when the aforementioned Mullens hit IR.

Sean Mannion
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Mannion is a behemoth human, standing 6’6″ and weighing 230 pounds. Cousins infamously contracted the coronavirus in 2021, so Mannion saw regular-season duty for the Vikings at Green Bay — of all places — in Week 17. He tossed in his first career touchdown on that frigid evening.

On the whole versus the Packers that night, Mannion underwhelmed, lacking mobility and the gumption to circumvent a habitually leaky Vikings pass-protecting offensive line. When Mannion tried to scramble, he resembled Paul Bunyan tromping around Lambeau Field. 

Yet, the Vikings and two different coaching staff really admire his presence.

In theory, Mannion could return to the practice squad like the Harry hypothesis, but this could be it for Mannion in purple after four years and numerous stints.

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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