The dust has officially settled and the smoke has finally cleared with all 32 NFL teams having set their initial 53-man rosters. But, as we know, the process isn’t done yet. Let’s take a moment or two to go over precisely what happens from here.
A lot of players were given their walking papers on Tuesday, and the overwhelming majority of them are subject to waivers. Players that have more than four seasons of NFL experience are not subject to waivers and are free agents that can sign with anyone straight away. However, those players with less than four seasons of experience are subject to waivers.
The waiver priority lists works basically the same as it would in your fantasy football league. The worst teams have priority over the teams with better records. For the first three weeks of the regular season, the waiver priority list is the same as the draft order from the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. That means that the Jacksonville Jaguars are #1 on the waiver priority list. If the Jaguars want to claim 10 players off of waivers, they get every single one of them, because they have that priority. They then have to make the corresponding roster moves to put those players on the roster, but they, essentially, have “dibs.”
That means that the Vikings sit at #12 on the waiver priority list. They can still put in claims for as many players as they’d like, but if any of the 11 teams ahead of them put in a claim on the same player, the Vikings are out of luck. When a team claims a player, they have to make a corresponding move to put them on the 53-man roster. The Vikings have been a bit silent on waiver claims in recent years if memory serves me correctly, but maybe Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and company will be different.
The deadline for teams to make waiver claims is 11:00 AM Central time on Wednesday, 31 August. After all of the waiver claims have been processed and the corresponding moves are made, any player that was not claimed on waivers or signed in free agency is eligible to be signed by any NFL team to be a part of their practice squad. If there are players that are subject to waivers that are waived as a part of the waiver claim process, they have to survive waivers for 24 hours without getting claimed by a team for their 53-man roster before they can be signed to the practice squad.
Practice squads are 16 players deep, and up to six of those players can have more than two seasons of accrued NFL experience. The other ten players must have two accrued seasons or less. That’s why you’ll likely see the Vikings sign some veteran players to serve as added depth so they can be “elevated” on game days.
Now that the 53-man rosters have been set, any player that is placed on injured reserve from this point forward is eligible to return during the season. Players that are placed on injured reserve before the 53-man roster deadline, such as Bisi Johnson and T.Y. McGill, are done for the season (until the team releases them with some sort of injury settlement). This is to prevent teams from “stashing” players on IR to protect them from getting poached by another team.
Also, players are now eligible to return after four games on IR this season. The rule used to be six but it was changed this season. But if the Vikings put someone on IR tomorrow, they’ll be eligible to return during the season.
That means the next thing we’ll be tracking is whether or not the Vikings make any waiver claims to make alterations to their current 53-man roster. We’ll have that news for you tomorrow as soon as it drops.