With all of the roster cuts made by the 32 NFL teams officially in the books, nearly 1,200 players that were on NFL rosters at the start of the day are now looking for ways to continue their NFL careers. Over 300 of those players will make their way on to practice squads across the National Football League.
The Minnesota Vikings have had a great deal of success with players on the practice squad over the past few years. Players such as Adam Thielen and Marcus Sherels that just needed a little more time to develop got that time on the Vikings’ practice squad, and there’s always the hope that another practice squad player could develop in the same way. But how is the practice squad constructed? Who is eligible? Let’s take a look at all of that and more right here.
Start Date and Time
Teams can start signing players to the practice squad on Sunday, 2 September, at noon Central time. There isn’t a particular time that they need to have the squad finished by, but players can’t officially sign practice squad deals until that time. Agents for players can start negotiating practice squad deals prior to that, obviously, but noon Central on Sunday is the earliest anything can become official.
Obviously, not all of the players that were released today are eligible for the practice squad. More veteran players immediately become free agents upon their release and can sign with any team that wants to give them a deal.
Of the ten players a team has on their practice squad, up to four of them can have as many as two “accrued seasons” of service in the NFL. An accrued season is a season in which a player was on an active NFL roster for at least six games. The other six spots, then, must be occupied by players with less than two accrued seasons of experience.
A player is allowed on the practice squad for up to two years, with one year counting as six weeks in a season. A third year on the practice squad is only allowed if the team keeps 53 players on their active roster at all times (which every team does).
Practice Squad Salary
Practice squad players earn paychecks on a weekly basis. Per the most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement, the minimum salary for a practice squad player is $7,600 a week, which works out to just under $130,000 for an entire season. Teams can pay players on the practice squad more than that, and the Vikings have done that in the past. This makes players on the practice squad less susceptible to being “poached” by another team. Speaking of which. . .
A team can sign a player off of another team’s practice squad at any point, but they must sign them to their 53-man roster. They can’t sign a player from another team’s practice squad just to immediately place them on their own practice squad.
The only time practice squad players can’t be signed to an active roster is when a team’s next opponent is simply trying to get information from them by signing them prior to a matchup.
Practice squad players are prohibited from signing with the next opponent of their current team any less than five days before the game, or nine days during a bye week. If a practice squad player is signed to an active roster, they will receive a minimum of three weeks of paychecks, even if they’re released less than three weeks into their stay with that time.
For more information about NFL practice squads, check out Article 33 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
We’ll definitely be keeping track of who the Vikings are signing to their practice squad over the next 24 hours or so. When we get word on who will make up the practice squad, we will have it right here for you.