NFC North: roster cuts
You can view the Packers' list of roster moves here.
Biggest surprise: You knew some good running backs would get released given the Packers' depth at the position, but you just didn't know who. As it turned out, the Packers released two veterans -- Vernand Morency and Noah Herron -- in favor of rookie Kregg Lumpkin. (The Packers had already waived DeShawn Wynn.) Lumpkin was one of the surprises of training camp and impressed coaches with his tenacity as well as his skills. Of course, the majority of the Packers' carries this season will go to Ryan Grant and Brandon Jackson.
No-brainers: The receiver position was another area of depth for the Packers, so it wasn't surprising to see them release four wideouts Saturday. Most notable was seventh-round pick Brett Swain. But few rookies were going to crack a group that includes Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, James Jones and Ruvell Martin. (Second-round draft choice Jordy Nelson was the only one.)
What's next: Although his injury was not believed to be season-ending, the Packers placed long-snapper J.J. Jansen on injured reserve because of a sprained lateral collateral ligament. The means they will have to find a new long snapper this week. Thomas Gafford, waived by the Bears on Saturday, could be a possibility. The Packers could also bring in several players for tryouts before deciding what direction they're going. Meanwhile, although quarterbacks Matt Flynn and Brian Brohm both made the roster, there are no guarantees the Packers won't seek a veteran backup for Aaron Rodgers this week.
View the Bears' official list of cuts and their 53-man roster here.
Biggest surprise: The Bears gave up on defensive end Dan Bazuin pretty quickly. Bazuin was a second-round draft choice in 2007 but missed the season after suffering a knee injury during rookie mini-camp. He told the Chicago Sun-Times that he wasn't 100 percent during training camp, but nevertheless the Bears aren't willing to give him any more time to develop. Linebacker Mike Okwo, a third-round pick last season, also ran out of time to prove himself. The receiver-thin Bears also cut two wideouts who have been productive this summer: Mike Hass and Brandon Rideau.
No-brainers: Quarterback Caleb Hanie was one of the Bears' few offensive bright spots this preseason. The original plan was to save a roster spot and enter the season with Kyle Orton and Rex Grossman as the only quarterbacks on the active roster. In that scenario, the Bears would have a third quarterback on the practice squad. But Hanie's performance opened enough eyes that he probably wouldn't have made it through waivers. Rather than risk losing him, the Bears kept him on the 53-man roster.
What's next: It's still not out of the question that the Bears could seek additional depth at quarterback. Hanie might be easier to get through waivers after the first cycle of claims happen. Otherwise, this is pretty much the team that Bears will take into the season.
You can view the Lions' full list of roster moves here.
Biggest surprise: There were no stunners, although the list of departures did include veteran cornerback Kiwaukee Thomas and running back Artose Pinner. In fact, the Lions kept only two tailbacks -- Kevin Smith and Tatum Bell -- after cutting Pinner and placing Brian Calhoun and Aveion Cason on injured reserve. Rookie fullback Jerome Felton could work at tailback, if needed. How committed are the Lions to the run? For now, they are keeping only four receivers.
No-brainers: Linebacker Buster Davis might have tried a little too hard to make the team, hitting harder then necessary during practice and upsetting several teammates and coaches. Quarterback Drew Henson's stay was destined to be short-lived -- the Lions will keep a roster spot for injured quarterback Drew Stanton instead.
What's next: Henson could conceivably end up on the practice squad if the Lions want a scout team quarterback for practice in Stanton's absence. And you have to wonder whether coach Rod Marinelli really will feel comfortable with two true tailbacks and four receivers heading into the regular season. Is he simply waiting to see if anything better is out there?
View the Vikings' official list of cuts here, where you can also access their 53-man roster as it stands now.
Biggest surprise: There were no shockers among the releases. Probably the biggest surprise was the release of receiver Martin Nance, who had a productive preseason. Ultimately, however, it was going to be hard for him to beat out Aundrae Allison or Robert Ferguson. Otherwise, there were some mild surprises among the players the Vikings kept - at least for now. Tight end Garrett Mills was a summer disappointment because of a leg injury but he remains one of four tight ends on the roster. The other surprise was safety Michael Boulware going on injured reserve. Boulware played in the preseason finale Thursday at Dallas and was not a part of the post-game injury report.
No-brainers: Quarterback Brooks Bollinger was destined to be a roster casualty as soon as the Vikings drafted John David Booty in the fifth round. Booty didn't have an impressive summer, but he would have had to fall on his face for the Vikings to keep Bollinger another year. Meanwhile, linebacker Rufus Alexander wasn't the same this summer as he attempted to return from major knee surgery.
What's next: Several young players made the final 53-man roster but could ultimately become practice squad material. By making them part of their initial roster, the Vikings will avoid exposing them to the first round of waivers. That list includes linebackers David Herron and Erin Henderson, as well as cornerback Husain Abdullah. They could be the first to go if the Vikings sign any veterans or make any waiver claims this weekend.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the Bears have told a few more players they will be released. That list includes: Receiver Brandon Rideau, offensive lineman Anthony Oakley, tight end Fontel Mines and linebacker Joey LaRocque.
All four NFC North teams should have their full list of cuts available by about 5 p.m. CT.
UPDATE (4:30 p.m. CT): The Sun-Times has the Bears' final 53-man roster on its Inside the Bears blog. Most notable: Rookie quarterback Caleb Hanie made the team. We'll follow soon with analysis.
The Star Tribune reports rookie quarterback John David Booty has emerged as the winner of the Minnesota Vikings' competition for the No. 3 quarterback position. It stands to reason that Brooks Bollinger will be among those the team releases Saturday, but that has not yet been confirmed.
We'll make this post the clearinghouse for NFC North cuts Friday, and we'll source each player with a link. (Teams aren't necessarily announcing these moves, but some enterprising beat reporters are digging them out.)
Check back for updates throughout the day.
- OL Cody Balough
- DE Dan Bazuin
- WR Mike Hass
- OL Ryan Poles
- LB Michael Okwo
- DE Nick Osborn
- S Leonard Peters
- FB Lousaka Polite
- RB P.J. Pope
- OL Tyler Reed
As you know by now, NFL teams are required to cut their rosters to 53 players by Saturday afternoon. Rather than one big announcement, this tends to be a drawn-out process in which teams inform players over the course of the next 24 hours before making any official announcements.
Our plan will be to bring you the news as it trickles out and then come back with analysis on each team when this round is complete. Keep in mind, of course, that teams usually tweak their rosters throughout Labor Day weekend as waiver claims are awarded and last-second trades completed.
With all that said, the Chicago Bears already have started the trickle. Chicago Sun-Times beat writer Brad Biggs is keeping track on his blog. Biggs reports the following players have been told they will be cut: Defensive end Dan Bazuin, fullback Lousaka Polite and receiver Mike Hass.