Beyond the previously covered quarterback situation, the Watts departure is Minnesota’s most notable cut. The 2019 sixth-round pick started nine games last season, moving into the lineup after Michael Pierce‘s injury. The Vikings cut Pierce this offseason, though Watts did not profile as a pure nose tackle. He was also drafted to play in a different scheme.
Minnesota hired a new DC this offseason (Ed Donatell), and the team acquired former Texans second-round defensive tackle pick Ross Blacklock on Tuesday. The Vikes had also added veteran Jonathan Bullard this offseason. These moves appear to have affected Watts’ status, as does the Vikings keeping only six D-linemen. They retained 10 after 2021’s cutdown day. Some of the changes can be attributed to classification, with edge defenders classified as outside linebackers in 3-4 sets. Watts also carried a $2.5MM cap charge, allowing Minnesota to save some decent money.
The Davis cut represents a quick bailout on a 2021 third-round pick. One of two guard Davises the Vikes shipped out Tuesday (along with Jesse, whom they traded to the Steelers), Wyatt — an Ohio State alum — played in six games last season and did not log an offensive snap. In addition to drafting Ed Ingram in the second round this year, the Vikings signed veteran interior linemen Chris Reed and Austin Schlottmann.
The Vikings made a handful of roster moves today, and it sounds like they’re preparing to be without Alexander Mattison for next Monday’s game against the Bears. The team announced that they’ve placed their backup running back on the reserve/COVID-19 list. The team has claimed veteran Wayne Gallman off waivers to fill the roster spot.
Mattison has had a career season for the Vikings, thanks mostly to three productive starts where he filled in for starter Dalvin Cook. In 13 games this season, Mattison has collected 615 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns on 140 touches. He had more than 100 yards from scrimmage after starting Minnesota’s Week 13 loss, but he returned to a backup role last Thursday with Cook back in the lineup.
Gallman is an experienced option to turn to if Mattison misses time. The veteran finished 2020 with a career-high 682 rushing yards, and after getting signed (and cut) by the 49ers, he caught on with the Falcons in September. He proceeded to see time in six games for Atlanta this season, collecting 125 yards from scrimmage on 29 touches.The 27-year-old was cut by the Falcons on Saturday.
The Vikings made some additional moves, including placing wideout Dan Chisena on the reserve/COVID-19 list. The team also placed linebacker Ryan Connelly on injured reserve. The 26-year-old has seen time in 12 games this season, collecting three tackles. The Vikings also made a procedural move, activating Olabisi Johnson from the reserve/COVID-19 list. The wideout still remains on injured reserve.
Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline Tuesday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters. In addition to waiver claims, teams can begin constructing their 16-man practice squads today. These Bears, Lions, Packers and Vikings moves are noted below.
Here are Wednesday’s NFC North transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.
The Vikings gave Davis a $100K guarantee (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle), a sizable sum for UDFAs. Davis is coming off of solid back-to-back seasons with the Aggies and many expect him to hear his name called on Day 3. In 2019, he caught 54 passes for 616 yards and four touchdowns. Davis and Chisena will fight for a place on the WR depth chart, which also includes first-round pick Justin Jefferson and fifth-round choice K.J. Osborn.
Clarke, meanwhile, fetched a total guarantee of $115K (Twitter link via Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press) and Aiello has $45K locked in (Twitter link via Wilson).