You've seen parts of three preseason games. You've followed training camp coverage. You might have even already had your fantasy football draft. The fourth and final preseason game feels like a throw away, perhaps.
For many, this is the reality of the preseason finale. But for many others, particularly hundreds of players on NFL rosters who will suit up and play tonight, it's quite the opposite. Much remains at stake. Position battles. Playing time. Jobs. Livelihoods.
Those who suit up tonight at New Era Field in Buffalo and all across the League will use the preseason finale as their last chance to put their best foot forward and to put quality tape out there in an effort to impress their own coaches and coaches for other teams who may be scouring for extra depth or an extra playmaker.
How many linebackers will make the final 53-man roster? Who is RB3? Who will provide depth at cornerback while Mike Hughes works his way back to the lineup? Who will be the holder? All of these questions and more must still be answered. And the quest to find the right answer will include dissecting what happens on the field tonight in the preseason finale.
View images as the Vikings travel to Buffalo in advance of Thursday's preseason game vs. the Bills.
The Vikings got a jump on reducing their roster to the required 53 players. On Tuesday, cornerback Bene Benwikere and wide receiver Jordan Taylor were released. The roster now stands at 88 players, which includes cornerback Mike Hughes, who was taken off the physically unable to perform list earlier in the week, as well.
If another team takes a player off our practice squad, is that team required to keep that player on its 53-man roster all season?
-- Bob K.
Mendota Heights, MN
No, but that team must count that player against its 53-man roster for three weeks, even if they end up releasing that player. All clubs will cut their rosters down to 53 players by August 31. The players who are cut will go through the waiver process. Unclaimed players then become free agents. Those free agents with practice squad eligibility can sign practice squad contracts with clubs at their own discretion. If another team comes along and offers them a spot on their 53-man roster, that player can sign with that team or he can choose to remain with his current club. If he goes to the new team, he must count against their 53-man roster for three weeks; a team cannot sign a player off another team's practice squad and place them on their practice squad.
The Vikings return home immediately after Thursday night's game in Buffalo and must cut down the roster to 53 players by 3:00 p.m. CT on Saturday, August 31. At approximately, 12:00 p.m. CT on Sunday, September 1, teams may establish a 10-member practice squad. The Vikings will kick off the regular season on Sunday, September 8 at U.S. Bank Stadium by hosting the Atlanta Falcons.
Stat of the Week – 5.7
The Vikings lead the NFL in the preseason with a per-carry average of 5.7 yards. The Vikings also lead the NFL in total rushing yards this preseason with 537.
Thursday's game will be a simulcast on FOX (Channel 9 in Minneapolis/St. Paul) and the Vikings Radio Network (KFAN-FM 100.3/KTLK-AM 1130). Paul Allen (play-by-play) and Pete Bercich (analyst) will call the game from the booth while Greg Coleman and Ben Leber will be on the sidelines. Mike Mussman hosts the pre-game show on the Vikings Radio Network and that begins at 4:00 p.m. CT.