Vikings take advantage of MORE roster flexibility

August, 26, 2008
8/26/08
6:37
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

We mused earlier today about the pros and cons of getting Minnesota Vikings quarterback Tarvaris Jackson onto the field Thursday night at Dallas, especially considering the tendency of NFL coaches to rest selected starters in the final preseason game.

This afternoon, Vikings coach Brad Childress said none of his starters -- including Jackson and backup quarterback Gus Frerotte -- would play against the Cowboys.

Even with Jackson's shortened preseason, it's almost certainly the right call. The Vikings already have lost two players -- linebacker Heath Farwell and defensive end Jayme Mitchell -- for this season. Several other starters are nursing injuries, a list that includes Jackson, receiver Bernard Berrian (toe) and safety Madieu Williams (neck).

We have heard plenty of complaining from all over the league about the NFL's new 80-man roster limit for training camp. Previously, NFL Europe exemptions gave each team an extra handful of players. But one part of last year's rules -- allowing 75 players on the roster for the final preseason game -- remained unchanged.

As recently as 2006, the NFL required teams to cut down to 65 players (plus their NFL Europe exemptions) before the final week of the preseason. If teams still had to operate with that limitation, it is unlikely that Childress -- and we have to imagine other coaches -- would have had the roster flexibility to sit all 22 starters.

So, if you're a sunny-side up kind of person, there is one positive aspect of the NFL's roster policy this year.

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