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Is TJ Clemmings On the Way Out?

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

One news item that was not widely circulated on Friday- or at least I didn’t notice it- was that T.J. Clemmings was a healthy scratch for the Vikings at Seattle.

Pro Football Focus reported that Clemmings was benched for Friday night’s game against the Seahawks, which begs the question why?

One possibility is that it was some sort of disciplinary measure, but another is simply that the Vikings may have grown frustrated with Clemmings’ performance. It may have been a little of both. Clemmings has not played well since being drafted in the 4th round a few years ago, having been forced into play at RT as a rookie, and the following year mostly at LT- both with very poor results.

In any case, it would seem more than a little unusual for a healthy backup player to be benched for a pre-season game, particularly one with some tenure on the team like Clemmings. I don’t know how often a player who was a healthy scratch from a pre-season game went on to make the 53-man roster, but it would seem rather unlikely.

Clemmings has most recently been playing left guard, and starting left guard Alex Boone was out with an injury Friday night, so not playing Clemmings in that situation seems particularly damning. Nick Easton played LG with the first team, and Jeremiah Sirles played most of the remaining snaps.

But even if the Vikings were ready to move on from Clemmings, it would seem more usual to simply give him minimal reps at the end of the game en route to cutting him. Making him a healthy scratch would seem to indicate some other reason for doing so- we’ll have to wait and see if anything else is reported.