With the initial 53-man roster set, there’s a handful of former Vikings whose future are currently in limbo. With some headed to other teams and many looking to return to the practice squad, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah provided a few surprising roster cuts that may raise eyebrows. The roster will continue to change (ie Reagor cut for Gaskins or signing of Quessenberry), these are the names that provided the biggest shocks yesterday.
WR Trishton Jackson
Jackson was a name many hoped would dawn the 53-man roster. Unfortunately, when all was said and done, Jackson just missed the line once again. An undrafted free agent out the 2020 NFL Draft, the former Syracuse project operated off the practice squad the last two seasons. Though he didn’t make a ton of noise in the preseason (3 catches for 29 yards), the reviews out of camp were encouraging. As a young player, the optimism stemmed from his potential. He was a great story on and off the field; however, the receiver room got deep quickly. With Jefferson, Addison, Osborn, and Nailor being locks for the roster, Jackson just didn’t do enough to beat out Powell and Reagor (who has since also been cut). It’s all but assured Minnesota will look to reclaim Jackson for the practice squad as long as he clears waivers.
OT Vederian Lowe
Not a cut, but a massive surprise as Lowe looked the part of a backup offensive tackle. Slotting in as the blindside protector, Vederian seemed to be a set for the roster as OT3. However, the front office shipped Lowe off to the Patriots for a 6th rounder. Why? Reason unknown (but draft capital acquisition or a numbers game seems most likely). Instead of Lowe, Udoh and Brandel return as the team’s primary backups. Sadly, if Lowe does develop into a solid offensive lineman, it won’t be for Minnesota. On the bright side though, the Vikings have an extra dart throw in next year’s draft so hey, that’s something!
C Josh Sokol
Sokol was a prospect that, personally, I believed would make the 53-man roster. As a player, he comped really well to Nick Easton. However, coming out of Sacred Heart, Sokol was raw. He had good skills to develop and a nice foundation, but there was always work to be done to get him on the field in the NFL. However, Sokol was one of the few backup offensive linemen that looked the part this preseason. Though there was a chance he would be the primary backup on the interior (adding guard versatility this offseason), he was waived. Instead, Schlottmann held onto this team’s interior backup role and will operate as such this season. The practice squad is the best landing spot for Sokol currently to stay in purple and gold long-term.
OLB Luiji Vilain
Arguably the biggest surprise cut, Villain burst onto the scene this preseason with a dominant performance against the Seahawks. Though he tailed off in terms of snaps the final two games, O’Connell showed a willingness to bench starters and play backups, a plus for #43. Honestly, the Vikings kept Vilain in 2022 so his status for the coming year felt locked in. However, Andre Carter II (this year’s Luiji Vilain) nabbed a roster spot and pushed Vilain out of the picture. In result, the former Wake Forest prospect will hit waivers and most likely won’t return to the team. Given his skillset and performance this year, it would be surprising to see him go unclaimed. If he does clear waivers though, Villain will absolutely be back on the practice squad.
CB Joejuan Williams
The biggest shock from Kwesi’s second year of cuts came in the form of reclamation project Joejuan Williams. Going into this week, Williams had done everything he needed to do to be on the active roster. A former Patriots 2nd rounder, Williams was physical, instinctual, and impressive enough throughout camp and the preseason to have many penciled him in at CB4. His play on the field seemed to jell with exactly what Brian Flores was looking for. That said, Blackmon shined brighter and the two do too much of the same. With the top three corners set, Booth Jr will remain on roster (on what feels like draft capital alone) and Najee Thompson will be a special teams gunner (which he EARNED). Minnesota may look to add another name to this room, but Metellus and Ward may also work into this room a bit. Either way, eyes will fall on where Joejuan lands next.