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Thursday, September 2, 2010
Final arguments: Four on the bubble

By Kevin Seifert

Preseason play mercifully will end Thursday night, opening what is really a five-day window for NFL teams to settle on their final 53-man rosters and practice squads. Some teams will begin making cuts as soon as Friday morning. Everyone must be down to 53 by Saturday at 6 p.m. ET, but waiver claims, trades and other player movement could continue as late as next Tuesday before Week 1 practices begin in earnest.

As we approach the NFL's flea market season, let's identify one player who seems most at risk on each NFC North team.

Chicago Bears

Player: Running back Garrett Wolfe
Comment: We've been waiting for Wolfe's speed to translate into regular playmaking for three years, and his time might now be up. Although he's been a good special-teams player in the past, Wolfe is on the wrong side of the Bears' Matt Forte-Chester Taylor tailback tandem. If the Bears keep a third running back, it could be second-year player Kahlil Bell.

Detroit Lions

Player: Offensive lineman Jon Jansen
Comment: Jansen started two games last season as an emergency fill-in and has spent the summer competing with Gosder Cherilus for the starting right tackle job. But if Cherilus wins the job, as expected, the Lions might choose a younger player such as Corey Hilliard as a backup.

Green Bay Packers

Player: Tight end Donald Lee
Comment: The Packers have five tight ends that probably should make the team: Jermichael Finley, Spencer Havner, Tom Crabtree, rookie Andrew Quarless and the veteran Lee. But that's a high number, and you wonder if Lee wouldn't be the odd man out. He's scheduled to make $2 million this season, all of which would be guaranteed if he's on the Week 1 roster. That's premium money for a part-time player.

Minnesota Vikings

Player: Kickoff specialist Rhys Lloyd
Comment: A kickoff specialist is a luxury reserved for only the biggest, most consistent boomers in the NFL. Lloyd, on the other hand, doesn't have a touchback this preseason and has been a big disappointment. It's possible the Vikings will give him time to straighten out, but their health-induced duress at other positions might make his roster spot too valuable.