NFL Nation: DeAndre Wright

Minnesota Vikings cutdown analysis

September, 4, 2010
9/04/10
6:22
PM ET
Check here for a full list of Minnesota's roster moves.

Biggest surprise: Veteran receiver Javon Walker had a difficult task: proving he was back to his playmaking self after three years of relative inactivity. Two touchdowns in two preseason games suggested he was on his way, but ultimately the Vikings weren't willing to risk a roster spot -- and, because he is a vested veteran, guarantee his base salary for the season. If nothing else, Walker seemed likely to make the team as a No. 5 receiver. But the move leaves the Vikings with four receivers on their 53-man roster. For me, it was also a minor surprise that the Vikings apparently will keep cornerback Cedric Griffin on the active roster, rather than place him on the physically unable to perform list. Griffin hasn't practiced since the end of last season because of a knee injury, but he must be close to returning. For now, he counts against their 53-man limit. Finally, the Vikings kept rookie Mickey Shuler among four tight ends. But that could be an attempt to pass him through waivers on a delayed basis for the purposes of getting him on the practice squad.

No-brainers: Kickoff specialist Rhys Lloyd didn't have a touchback until the fourth preseason game, and his roster spot was simply too valuable. The only reason to keep a kickoff specialist is if he consistently puts the ball into the end zone. Lloyd didn't do that, and give some credit to the Vikings for eating the $200,000 bonus they gave him this spring. No sense throwing good money after bad. Ryan Longwell isn't the NFL's leading kickoff man, but he is good enough to prevent the Vikings from forcing this issue.

What's next: You have to assume the Vikings will add a cornerback, either through waivers or via trade. Cutting DeAndre Wright and Marcus Sherels leaves the team with three healthy cornerbacks. It's almost mandatory that the Vikings find at least one more. Walker's departure makes you wonder if the Vikings have another receiver targeted, but it's also possible they will keep four until Sidney Rice returns at midseason. Finally, Friday's trade of Darius Reynaud to the New York Giants means the Vikings need to identify a punt returner.

Catching up on some reported moves

September, 4, 2010
9/04/10
3:17
PM ET
We're planning posts on each NFC North team's cuts once they are official. Announcements could come at any point Saturday afternoon or evening, but for now let's round up some of the bigger names who are already reported to be on the way off their respective rosters.

NFC Rookie Surprise: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

 
 AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
 Bruce Johnson returned his only interception of the season 34 yards for a touchdown.
Former Miami Hurricanes cornerback Bruce Johnson had to endure the frustration of not being drafted after once being projected as an early- to mid-round prospect. He didn't wow anyone at the combine and he was barely a top-30 corner heading into the draft.

But when I arrived in Albany, N.Y., in August, Johnson was constantly making plays in training camp. You could tell right away that he was better than sixth-round draft choice DeAndre Wright -- and Tom Coughlin found a spot on the 53-man roster for him. With Kevin Dockery slowed by a hamstring injury, Johnson became the nickel corner to start the season. He had a forced fumble in his first regular-season game against the Redskins and he followed that up with a pick-six against the Cowboys the following week.

On the interception against the Cowboys, he lured Tony Romo into thinking he was in one-on-one coverage with Roy Williams and then he bailed out at the last second and jumped underneath an out route that Patrick Crayton was running. It was a veteran move by an undrafted rookie -- and he raced to the end zone for a 34-yard touchdown to give the Giants a 10-7 lead in the first quarter.

The Eagles have a fifth-round draft pick named Victor "Macho" Harris who's already cracked the starting lineup at free safety, but I think Johnson had made the bigger impact early in the season. Dockery has returned to the lineup, but I don't think he'll be able to hold off Johnson for long. Johnson's just a very heady player who Coughlin already has a lot of faith in.
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The only thing I've seen him do wrong is get confused on a route the Chiefs ran near the Giants' goal line. On that play, Michael Boley raced back and broke up the pass. Johnson already has eight tackles, three pass deflections, a forced fumble and an interception. I don't think this is beginner's luck.

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