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2016 NFL Practice Squad Rules: Eligibility, Size, Salary, And More

Starting on Sunday at noon Central time, NFL teams can start putting together their practice squads. Here are the rules governing those.

NFL: Preseason-Los Angeles Rams at Minnesota Vikings Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the Minnesota Vikings have set their 53-man roster, the focus will turn (at least in part) to the construction of the practice squad. The rules for who can be on the practice squad have changed a bit from last season, so let’s go over everything you need to know about how this unit is put together.

Here are the primary rules that you need to know:

  • Practice squads are comprised of ten players.
  • As many as four players on the practice squad can have two seasons of experience. A year of experience is defined as six games of being in “full pay” status.
  • A player must have at least six games on a practice squad to get credit for a full practice squad season. Players can have three such seasons before they’re no longer practice squad eligible.
  • Players on the practice squad are not eligible to play on Sundays unless they are added to the 53-man roster.
  • Practice squad players get paid weekly, and they can be released at any time.
  • Players on the practice squad can sign with any team they wish, with the exception of their opponent for that particular week. This prevents stealing of “intel” by a team that’s preparing to play that team in that week of the season.
  • In order to sign a player to the practice squad, that player must be released first, and then they must clear waivers. You can’t sign a player from another team’s practice squad directly to your own practice squad. During the season, if a team signs a player from another team’s practice squad, they must add them to the 53-man roster.
  • Practice squad players make a minimum of $6,900/week. You can pay practice squad players more to entice them to not sign with other teams, but that’s the minimum.

The Vikings, along with the other 31 NFL teams, can start putting their practice squads together starting at noon Central time on Sunday. We will do our best to keep track of who the purple and gold will be adding to their 10-man practice squad. We have a few ideas, as most of the players will be players that went through camp with the Vikings, but there could be some surprises from other teams cuts as well.