Episode 6: Star Tribune Vikings editor Chris Miller joins Digital Sports Editor Michael Rand and beat writer Matt Vensel as they discuss Blair Walsh's kicking woes, how to properly cover a Vikings scandal and how Jordy Nelson's injury impacts the NFC North.
As NFL cuts loom, it’s clear the Vikings are going to have to part ways with some fairly good players who are going to end up helping other teams in the league. Not a lot of them, but a couple.
Tight end Chase Ford stands out as example No. 1.
Will the Vikings keep four tight ends? With Kyle Rudolph as the No. 1 tight end, MyCole Pruitt as the promising rookie draft pick and Rhett Ellison as the versatile blocker/special teams standout, it would appear that Ford’s only chance to make the team is if the Vikings go with the unlikely scenario of keeping four tight ends. Remember, they’re also looking at having to keep six receivers as opposed to the more traditional five in order to hang on to Adam Thielen and rookie Stefon Diggs.
Coach Mike Zimmer was asked if he’ll keep four tight ends and whether Ford’s roster spot is safe or not.
“Right now, we’re looking at all of those options and different guys we keep and all that,” Zimmer said. “I think a lot of people are in battles.”
The Vikings, like all teams, are exploring trade possibilities for players of value that they might be forced to cut otherwise. A look at the tight end market suggests the Vikings could get at least a fifth-rounder for Ford, who was a rookie free agent of the Eagles in 2012.
Recently, the Redskins were desperate enough to trade a fifth-rounder to the 49ers for Derek Carrier, a 25-year-old entering his fourth season. Washington lost Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen to season-ending injuries, causing it to reach out to the 49ers.
Carrier played at Division III Beloit College and spent 2012 on the Eagles’ practice squad as a receiver. He went to San Francisco in 2013. He played in 11 games last year, catching nine passes for 105 yards and no touchdowns before suffering a season-ending foot injury.
Ford, meanwhile, has 34 catches for 391 yards and a touchdown in 20 games the past two seasons. He had five catches including a touchdown in Saturday night’s 20-12 preseason win over the Raiders.
“Chase does a really good job in the passing game,” Zimmer said. “In the two-minute drill [against the Raiders on Saturday night], he caught the ball one-handed and got out of bounds. Those are the things we’ve been preaching all training camp. He catches the ball well, runs good routes and he’s got to continue to maintain consistency.”
Ford says his ultimate goal is to make the Vikings’ final roster. But it that doesn’t happen, then what?
“That’s not really up to me,” Ford said. “That’s up to the other GMs and head coaches and stuff. But I feel like somebody will try and take a chance on me.”
And someone will.