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The Physically Unable To Perform List: A Refresher

Hannah Foslien

Before the first practice of Training Camp on Friday, the Minnesota Vikings announced that they were placing two players on the team's Physically Unable to Perform List (the PUP List, for short). Those two players were wide receiver Greg Childs, whose story we're all familiar with, and undrafted free agent linebacker Nathan Williams, who had ankle surgery after signing with the Vikings.

So what, exactly, does being on the PUP List mean for Childs and Williams? Well, I'm glad you asked. . .even if you didn't. Pretend you did.

-To start with, there are two different PUP Lists. . .one for the regular season and one for the pre-season.

-If a player is placed on the pre-season PUP List, they can take part in team meetings, work with the trainers, and take advantage of the medical facilities, but they can not practice with the team. Conversely, if a player takes the field for a Training Camp practice, they can not be placed on the PUP List.

-A player can be taken off of the pre-season PUP List at any time and placed on the active roster. Once they are taken off, however, they can't be put back on it.

-If a player finishes the pre-season on the PUP List, their team can then move them to the regular season PUP List. If this happens, the player must sit out the first six games (not weeks) of the regular season. They can still take part in meetings and get medical treatment, just as they could on the pre-season PUP List.

-After the first six games, the team has a three-week window to decide to allow the player to begin practicing with the team. If the player does not start practicing, they must remain on the PUP List for the remainder of the season.

-If the player does begin practicing with the team, the team then has another three weeks (from the date the player begins practicing) to decide whether or not to move the player to the 53-man roster. If they do not do so, the player remains on the PUP List for the remainder of the season.

In the case of Childs and Williams, for example, if they start the regular season on the PUP List, they would not be able to practice with the team until, at the earliest, October 22. That's the day after their Week 7 match-up with the New York Giants. (Remember, they have to sit out the first six games, not the first six weeks, and the Vikings have an early bye this year thanks to their trip to London to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers.) The team could hold off allowing them to practice until November 12, which is three weeks after that window opens up. If they don't start practicing by then, they remain on the PUP List for the remainder of the season.

As soon as they would hit the practice field with the team, the team could take up to three weeks to decide whether to activate them. That means that, if they held off as long as they could, they could wait until December 3 (three weeks after November 12) to make a final decision on them. If the team decides not to put them on the active roster, they would remain on the PUP List for the rest of the season.

Neither Childs nor Williams would count against the 53-man roster if they were to go on the regular season PUP List. It would sort of be like being on injured reserve with the designation to return. The Vikings would be able to have their full complement of 53 players, but if the team wanted to move one or both of those players to the 53-man roster, they would have to cut players or place players on injured reserve to accommodate them.

There's a look at the Physically Unable to Perform List, and what Greg Childs and Nathan Williams are looking at as far as whether they'll be on the field on Sundays this season.