Vikings Have Parted Ways With 2 Undrafted Rookies

Vikings Have Parted Ways With 2 Undrafted Rookies

Middle Tennessee quarterback DJ Riles (5) run the option as FIU linebacker Donovan Manuel (10) makes a tackle during the MTSU’s salute to Veterans football game in the Johnny “Red” Floyd Stadium in Murfreesboro, Tenn. on Saturday, Nov 11, 2023.

 

The Minnesota Vikings have a strong rookie class with two premier talents, some intriguing day-three players, and, initially, 15 undrafted rookies. Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s third class will be evaluated based on the top two players. If J.J. McCarthy and Dallas Turner, the two first-rounders, fulfill their potential, nobody will ever care about the other guys.

 

Vikings Have Parted Ways With 2 Undrafted Rookies

 

rookies

Notre Dame linebacker Marist Liufau (8) tries to get past California offensive lineman Matthew Cindric (73) during the Notre Dame vs. California NCAA football game on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend.

Notre Dame Vs. California

Two of the undrafted rookies — Matthew Cindric and Donovan Manuel — are no longer with the Vikings.

 

Offensive lineman Cindric was the latest sacrifice to make room for the returning starting guard Dalton Risner. The (old) newcomer started 11 games for the Vikings in 2023 but once again tested the free agency market.

 

For the second consecutive year, he couldn’t find a new home and the desired long-term contract in the first wave of free agency and joined the Vikings. He will presumably reclaim his left guard spot, although Blake Brandel could challenge him.

 

Cindric is the odd man out. The interior lineman from the University of California declared for the NFL draft despite having eligibility for a seventh collegiate season because of an injury in 2023. The COVID season, various injuries, and a redshirt year could’ve led to a seven-year career.

 

The Vikings could still opt to re-sign him later in the offseason, a common practice in the league. The rookie could also try to generate some interest from another team to make the preseason roster.

 

At this point, the Vikings employ 15 offensive linemen, including the five returning starters from last season and both top backups David Queensberry and Brandel. Adofo-Mensah added Walter Rouse and Michael Jurgens in the draft, and Dan Feeney joined in free agency. Henry Byrd and Tyrese Robinson spent time on Minnesota’s practice squad last year, and UDFAs Spencer Rolland, Jeremy Flax, and Doug Nester are also under contract.

 

 

Middle Tennessee running back Frank Peasant (24) runs the ball as FIU linebacker Donovan Manuel (10) moves in for a tackle during the MTSU’s salute to Veterans football game in the Johnny “Red” Floyd Stadium in Murfreesboro, Tenn. on Saturday, Nov 11, 2023.

Linebacker Manuel was cut to make room for tight end Robert Tonyan. The former Packers and Bears receiving threat could be asked to slide into the receiver role until T.J. Hockenson returns from his knee injury.

 

The Vikings don’t have a solidified linebacker corps, especially compared to the offensive line, where the top contributors are set. Jordan Hicks departed in free agency, and hometown hero and former Texans linebacker Blake Cashman will take his role next to 2023 rookie sensation Ivan Pace.

 

Brian Asamoah couldn’t meet the high expectations folks set for him after a promising debut season, but he should be considered the team’s primary backup. Behind him, the Vikings need someone with special teams skills to be the fourth guy. Longtime NFL player Kamu Grugier-Hill was signed. He will compete with returning depth player Abraham Beauplan and undrafted rookies K.J. Cloyd and Dallas Gant.

 

 

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Manuel finished his college career at FIU with a strong 2023 campaign, producing 121 total tackles and a school record five forced fumbles. Similarly to Cindric, the Vikings could opt to re-sign him at some point in the offseason, but he will likely try to find a different team to spend training camp with, trying to earn some reps in the preseason and potentially on a practice squad.

 

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Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt

 

Janik Eckardt

Janik Eckardt is a German sports nerd, who likes numbers and stats. He chose the Vikings to be his favorite team, despite Christian Ponder being the quarterback at the time. Soccer has been his first love. Classic rock is his music genre of choice and he loves sitcoms.

 

 

Gideon Canice

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