clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Minnesota Vikings Roster 2015: Waiver Claims and Practice Squad

New, comments
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday gave us the drama of the Minnesota Vikings. . .and the 31 other NFL teams. . .having to reduce their rosters down to 53 players. All of the teams have done that, but that doesn't mean that things are set in stone. At this point, they're not even set in Jell-o.

There are two very important steps in the formation of NFL rosters that are going to take place today. Let's detail both of those here.

Waiver Claims

Until 11:00 AM Central time today, teams will be able to make waiver claims on players that were released yesterday as part of the final cutdown. What does that mean?

The waiver wire is how the National Football League manages players that have been released that have four or fewer seasons of "accrued service" in the NFL. An "accrued" season is one where a player is on full pay status (whether that's the active roster, injured reserve, or the Physically Unable to Perform list) for at least six games.

There is a waiver claim priority list that the league uses to determine which team receives a player if more than one team puts a claim on them. At this point of the season, that order is still determined by last season's records. That means that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who were the league's worst team last season, are #1 on the waiver priority list as it stands right now. Basically, if the Bucs put in a waiver claim on a player, they get him. The Vikings, like they were in the 2015 NFL Draft order, are at #11 on the waiver priority list. That means that, if they put in a claim on a player, they have to hope that none of the ten teams ahead of them claim the same player, because the team with the higher priority will get him ahead of Minnesota.

(The waiver wire priority resets following Week 3 of the regular season, but until then it is still based on 2014's record.)

The Vikings did this last year when they brought in offensive lineman Mike Harris and tight end MarQueis Gray. If the Vikings claim a player or players, they must release players to accommodate them on the roster. Again, the deadline for roster claims is noon Eastern time. . .or, as we like to call it, 11:00 AM Central. . .today.

Practice Squad

Starting at noon Central time today, an hour after the waiver claims have been processed, teams can begin setting their 10-man practice squads. The practice squad generally consists of younger players that a team would like to attempt to develop and potentially use as replacements for players that get injured. In order to be signed to the practice squad, a player has to clear waivers.

So, who is eligible for the practice squad? Here are the eligibility rules:

First, a player must have a minimum of six games  on a Practice Squad in order for that season to count as one of the player's three permissible seasons of Practice Squad service.

Second, each club will be permitted to sign a maximum of two Practice Squad players who have earned no more than two accrued seasons of free agency credit. Absent this exception, a player who has earned one or more accrued seasons would not be eligible for a Practice Squad unless the player spent fewer than nine games on a club's 46-player active list in each of his accrued seasons.

All other practice squad rules under Article 33 of the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement will remain in effect during the 2014 and 2015 seasons.

(Article 33: The Practice Squad shall consist of the following players, provided that they have not served more than two previous seasons on a Practice Squad: (i) players who do not have an Accrued Season of NFL experience; and (ii) free agent players who were on the Active List for fewer than nine regular season games during their only Accrued Season(s). An otherwise eligible player may be a Practice Squad player for a third season only if the Club by which he is employed that season has at least 53 players on its Active/Inactive List during the entire period of his employment.)

The rules for "accrued seasons" are the same as the ones that were discussed for waiver claims above.

There are some other rules for practice squads as well.

  • Players on the practice squad only practice with the team. They don't count against the 53-man roster, nor are they eligible to play in regular season games.
  • Practice squad players are paid on a weekly basis (minimum $6,600/week, though it can be more) and can be released at any time.
  • Players on the practice squad can be signed by another team at any time. If a team signs a player from another team's practice squad, they go to their new team's 53-man roster, and will count against that 53-man roster for three games.
  • A player on a practice squad can not be signed directly to another team's practice squad. . .they have to be released and clear waivers first, or be signed directly to a 53-man roster.
  • A practice squad player can not sign with their team's upcoming opponent, unless they do so six days before the upcoming game. . .or 10 days if their team is currently on a bye week.

Again, those moves can start at noon Central time today.

We'll be continuing to track all of the moves that the Vikings make as we get closer to the first weekend of regular season NFL football. We hope that you'll be hanging out here with us as the news rolls in.