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So, now what? Waivers and practice squad rules and eligibility

There’s miles to go before we sleep

Minnesota Vikings v Buffalo Bills Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Now that the Minnesota Vikings (and 31 other NFL teams that don’t matter as much) have all set their 53-man rosters, there is still a lot of work to be done between now and the start of the regular season as far as player movement is concerned. Here’s what we can expect over the course of the next couple of days.

Waiver Claims

The first part of things is the waiver process, which will be completed by noon Central time on Sunday. Whenever a team releases a player with less than four seasons of NFL experience, they are subject to the waiver process. Players with four or more seasons in the NFL that are released automatically become free agents and can sign with any other team immediately.

The order of priority for these waiver claims currently mirrors the first-round selection order for the 2019 NFL Draft, as it’s based on records from last season. (It stays that way until after Week 3, when 2019 records start being used.) By that measure, the Vikings sit at #18 on the priority list. So, if they put in a waiver claim on a player, they need to keep their fingers crossed and hope that none of the 17 teams in front of them try to claim the same player. If they do, the Vikings are out of luck.

These waivers also don’t reset just because a team claims a player. The Arizona Cardinals, by virtue of being the worst team in the NFL last year, are #1 on the waiver priority list, which means they can claim all the players they want if they’re willing to cut their own players to accommodate them. We’ll have to see who the Vikings put claims in on.

Once the waiver process is over with, the real fun starts.

Practice Squad

After waiver claims have been processed, teams can start assembling their practice squads. Practice squads generally consist of younger players that teams feel can, eventually, contribute, but could use some more seasoning and development with an NFL coaching staff.

Here are some of the basics of the practice squad:

  • Practice squads can consist of up to ten players.
  • A handful of NFL teams are allowed to have an 11th “international” player, whose primary residence is outside of the United States. The Vikings are not one of those teams this season. . .if they were, you’d know. . .but it’s something to keep in mind for the future.
  • Practice squad players are free to sign with any NFL team, provided that they are placed on that team’s 53-man roster. A player can’t just jump from one team’s practice squad to another team’s practice squad. They must be released by their original team and subjected to waivers first.
  • If a team does sign a player from a practice squad, that player is guaranteed three weeks of active NFL pay, even if the team releases them after one game.
  • One signing restriction is that a player can’t jump from one team’s practice squad to the roster of that team’s upcoming opponent, unless they do so during a bye week or at least six days before the contest between those two teams.
  • Per the most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement, the minimum salary for a practice squad player is $7,600/week, which works out to just under $130,000 for a full 17-game season. Teams can pay practice squad players more than the minimum (in an effort to keep them from getting “poached” by another team), but that’s the minimum.

So, how do you know if a player is eligible for the practice squad?

  • A player may only serve two seasons on a practice squad. An otherwise eligible player may be a practice squad player for a third season only if the team by which he is employed that season has at least 53 players on its Active/Inactive List during the entire period of his employment.
  • A practice squad player needs to have less than one accrued season of NFL experience. An accrued NFL season is considered six games, but players with one accrued season who were active for less than nine games regular-season games would be practice squad eligible.
  • A player is deemed to have served a full practice squad season if he is on a team’s practice for at least six weeks.
  • Up to four of the 10 players can have two accrued seasons. A player can spend no more than three seasons on a practice squad.

As we did with the 53-man roster, we’ll be keeping our eyes on what the Vikings are doing as far as both waiver claims and the practice squad are concerned.

Thanks to everyone that’s gotten their roster news this weekend right here at The Daily Norseman! We’ve tried to get you all the news in the most expedient manner possible, and we’re glad that you’ve trusted us to bring you the latest happenings with our favorite team.