The Vikings cut 15 players from the roster this past week, bringing the number of players in camp down to 75. Now is when the decisions get a little tougher. To get to 53, the Vikings will have to cut one more wide receiver and none have used the preseason games to separate themselves from the pack (or from opposing defenders, for that matter). Coach Leslie Frazier will be looking for any backup receiver to do so, or he is ready to look around the league at other prospects.

The coaches have to decide whether they can afford to keep more players at defensive end -- where they are deep -- than at safety, where they need bodies because three players were injured last Friday. Who can the staff sneak through waivers to the practice squad, and who can they find on waivers to help a depleted unit? Look for some surprises this week as the final roster is assembled.

QB -- In: (3) Christian Ponder, Joe Webb, Sage Rosenfels. Out: McLeod Bethel-Thompson. Analysis: We’ll get a final look at Bethel-Thompson against Houston on Thursday, but the writing may already be on the wall. Against the Chargers, Rosenfels led the offense to only its second touchdown of the preseason, and he did it so efficiently that he proved his worth as a reliable backup if Christian Ponder and Joe Webb can’t get the job done. Bethel-Thompson will have to be exposed to waivers, and if he makes it through should return to the practice squad.

RB -- In: (4) Adrian Peterson, Toby Gerhart, Jerome Felton (FB), Matt Asiata Out: Jordan Todman, (FB), Ryan D'Imperio, Lex Hilliard. Analysis: For the second week in a row, the coaches got a long look at Asiata, giving him extensive runs against the Chargers (9 carries for 48 yards). Asiata made a strong case for the fourth running back spot, and his versatility to play both a power running/blocking fullback and quick-hitting running back could really help. He hurt himself with a fumble inside the Charger’s 5-yard line, but later scored a go-ahead TD on a pass reception. Todman finally saw game action after being limited all camp by a sprained ankle, and he flashed the speed that has caught the coaches’ attention. But it might be too late for to make anything other the practice squad. Hilliard has not really flashed in the preseason, so Thursday is a big game for him.

WR -- In: (6) Percy Harvin, Jerome Simpson, Michael Jenkins, Devin Aromashodu, Stephen Burton, Jarius Wright. Out: Emmanuel Arceneaux. Analysis: Aromashodu caught his first passes of the preseason on Friday (3 receptions for 28 yards on three targets), which the coaches have desperately been waiting to see. Jenkins gets in due to his experience, Burton on potential and Wright because of his draft status and a nice turn at puntreturner on Friday. Arceneaux, despite solid performances in games and a very good camp, may have to go through waivers, but chances are he doesn’t make it through this year.

TE -- In: (4) Kyle Rudolph, John Carlson, Rhett Ellison, Allen Reisner. Out: Mickey Shuler. Analysis: Ellison, who has a great camp, was added to the growing injury list in the tight end unit (but he returned to practice). The injuries that have hit both starters (Rudolph and Carlson) could make it necessary for the team to keep Shuler (at least on the practice squad). Reisner ended any debate on the fourth tight end with his performance (4-catches-for-47-yard) on Friday night.

OL -- In (8): Matt Kalil, Charlie Johnson, John Sullivan, Brandon Fusco, Phil Loadholt, Geoff Schwartz, Joe Berger, DeMarcus Love. Out: Chris DeGeare, Patrick Brown, Austin Pasztor, Quentin Saulsberry, Tyler Holmes, Kevin Murphy. Analysis: Brown’s emergence and Love’s continual injury issues (pectoral) have complicated the decision. Brown has become a solid backup and could force the coaches to steal depth from another position to keep him. They like Love, but he will need to show something on Thursday against the Texans after being out all preseason with an injury. Look for the team to try to sneak Brown and DeGeare through waivers.

DL -- In (8): Jared Allen, Kevin Williams, Brian Robison, Letroy Guion, Fred Evans, D'Aundre Reed, Christian Ballard, Everson Griffen. Out: Trevor Guyton, Nick Reed, Jeff Charleston, Chase Baker. Analysis: Another tough decision for the coaches is how they will find a spot for Guyton. With Guion (knee) missing the Chargers game, the coaches will be careful with him and need the depth that Guyton can bring to the position. Defensive coordinator Alan Williams likes to platoon defensive linemen, so depth is required, but that may be a luxury with the injuries at other positions on the team. Guyton and Reed are practice squad possibilities if they don’t make the roster.

LB -- In (6): Chad Greenway, Jasper Brinkley, Erin Henderson, Marvin Mitchell, Audie Cole, Larry Dean. Out: Tyrone McKenzie, Corey Paredes. Analysis: Brinkley’s nice game (as well as Henderson’s) against the Chargers gives the coaches more confidence in the starters, but depth is still a concern. Cole had another decent preseason game, as did Mitchell, so they may be coming along. Still a tough call with McKenzie—he could end up on the practice squad.

DB – In (11): Chris Cook, Antoine Winfield, Josh Robinson, Mistral Raymond, Harrison Smith, Jamarca Sanford, Chris Carr, Brandon Burton, Robert Blanton, Zack Bowman, Eric Frampton. Out: Marcus Sherels, Andrew Sendejo, Bobby Felder, Reggie Jones. Analysis: The secondary has begun to resemble last season’s unit in that injuries have really started to mount—and may cause the team to keep more players than originally planned. Tough decisions here, since Blanton hasn’t played in the preseason yet and shouldn’t get a free pass onto the roster -- he needs to show something on Thursday. Sherels is still the number one return man unless WR Jarius Wright or Jones (who will get a shot against the Texans) can steal the job. Wright looked good against the Chargers and could unseat Sherels, who might be easier to get though waivers. Frampton is on the bubble, but he is a very good special teams player and the team needs safety depth.

Special teams -- In (3): K Blair Walsh, P/H Chris Kluwe, LS Cullen Loeffler. Out: Nobody. Analysis: Kluwe punted well against the Chargers (putting one inside the 5 yard line), Loeffler snapped better than the previous week, and Walsh was 1 of 2 in field goals and 2 of 3 in touchbacks on kickoffs (which is a better percentage than last week). Other than that, there is nocompetition in camp--nothing else to see here.

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