Within the next 24 hours, every roster in the National Football League will be reduced to 53 players. There are going to be a lot of players getting told that the coaches want to see them and that they need to bring their playbooks.
With so many players getting released, there’s no doubt that the Minnesota Vikings could potentially be interested in some of them. There are a couple of different processes that govern those players, so we’re going to take a minute to review what those processes are.
The primary one is the waiver process. When a team releases a player with less than four years of service, they are subject to the waiver process.
In the waiver process, there is a priority list as far as teams claiming players are concerned. As of now, and until the conclusion of Week 3 of the 2016 NFL season, that hierarchy is based on last year’s records. This means that the Tennessee Titans are the #1 team on the waiver priority list, while the Vikings are all the way down at #23. This means that if the Vikings want to take a shot at a young quarterback like Aaron Murray, who was released by the Kansas City Chiefs earlier today, they have to put a claim in on him, and then cross their fingers and hope that none of the other 22 teams ahead of them on the list put in a claim.
Unlike fantasy leagues, the waiver process in this case doesn’t reset just because a team claims a player. Basically, the Tennessee Titans can claim as many players from waivers as they want, and they’ll be awarded those players because they’re the #1 team on the waiver priority list. Again, they’ll stay at #1 on the list until Week 3 of this season is over, at which point things will revert to 2016 records.
Any player with at least four years of service that is released is not subject to the waiver process. They immediately become free agents and can sign with any team.
So, as we’re keeping an eye on these roster cuts leading up to the 3 PM Central time deadline on Saturday, be sure to take note of how much experience certain players have. It could have a significant bearing on whether or not the Vikings have a realistic shot at bringing them in.