The final roster cuts will happen within 24 hours of the conclusion of tonight's contest between the Minnesota Vikings and the Houston Texans. Since the majority of the starters are not going to play this evening for Minnesota, there will be a chance to see a lot of the guys fighting for spots at the bottom of the roster. Let's take a look at five of them right now.
McLeod Bethel-Thompson, quarterback - Make no mistake. . .I don't think the Vikings are going to keep McLeod Bethel-Thompson on the big roster. However, there's a very good chance that the Vikings are going to attempt to get him on the practice squad. The problem with that is that, as the Vikings found out with Tyler Thigpen a few years ago, all it takes is one team being impressed with a player to make such a plan go up in smoke. So, it's entirely possible that he's not just playing for a spot on the Vikings' practice squad. . .he could be playing for the chance to be the #3 quarterback on some other team. Word is that Joe Webb is going to start tonight, Sage Rosenfels will play the second quarter, and the second half will belong to McLeod Bethel-Thompson. If he's going to make an impression, he's got 30 minutes of football to do it.Robert Blanton, safety - Tonight we'll get our first look at Blanton, who has been battling injuries to this point. In order for the team to get an accurate gauge on Blanton, and because the Vikings have had some injuries at the safety spot, Blanton is slated to play the entire game tonight. I think Blanton is going to end up making the team unless he looks like a complete disaster out there. Tonight is simply a matter of how high up the depth chart he can push himself.
Jarius Wright, wide receiver - I was one of many that was excited by the prospect of Wright coming to the Vikings. However, through three pre-season games, he has yet to register a reception (though he did look decent in the return game against the Chargers). Like Blanton, I don't think he's in any danger of being left off the roster, but it would be nice for him to start making a move here tonight. Even if he just solidifies his spot as a returner, it would be a welcome sight.
Allen Reisner/Mickey Shuler, tight ends - I think the Vikings are going to keep four tight ends on the roster. . .but I really don't see them keeping five. With Kyle Rudolph, John Carlson, and Rhett Ellison being locks (in my opinion), that means that Reisner and Shuler are playing for one roster spot. I really can't declare a clear favorite in this one, to be honest. . .I think Reisner might be the slightly better pass catcher, and Shuler might be the slightly better blocker. We'll know who the coaching staff likes more shortly after tonight's game.
That's my list. . .who will you be keeping an eye on this evening?