The Minnesota Vikings announced their final 53-man roster 20 minutes after the deadline, and with it comes a few surprises. Among the good news is that converted wide receiver Joe Webb made the team as one of five pass catchers, and former University of Minnesota player Marcus Sherels made the roster as well.
Webb started the Vikings’ lone playoff game last season as a quarterback, but when the team brought in Matt Cassel during the offseason, it was clear Webb’s career as a quarterback was over. He made the choice to transition to wide receiver, and impressed the coaching staff enough with his team-leading 10 catches for 65 yards and one impressive touchdown catch in the preseason to earn a roster spot.
The team decided to keep just five receivers this year, which means Webb could see some time on the field often and early when giving other receivers a break. Webb won’t be a premier target for quarterback Christian Ponder, but his presence on the bench as a former QB will help both Ponder and Cassel during games as he is a player who can see the field from two different points of view.
Sherels is the feel-good story of the Vikings’ preseason as he lost his father to cancer the day prior to the team’s first preseason game. Sherels played in that game just 24 hours after his dad’s death and played in three of the teams’ four preseason games, making his biggest impact in the last.
Sherels made a bid for a roster spot in the last preseason game as he not only had a 109-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, but had an interception on defense as well. His role for the Vikings is currently unclear as he is one of 10 defensive backs on the roster, and will possibly only see early playing time on special teams if Cordarrelle Patterson doesn’t win the returning duties.
Among the cuts, the most surprising was wide receiver Stephen Burton, who caught seven preseason passes for an impressive 112 yards in his third preseason with the Vikings. Burton has just seven career receptions, but he has good size at 6-foot-1 and 224 pounds, making it likely he will get a shot with another team.
Overall, the only questionable move by the Vikings was keeping just five receivers and having a converted QB be one of them. They likely won’t be tested depth-wise at the position considering they are a run-first team, which is likely the reason the coaches decided to cut Burton.