MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Joe Webb’s athleticism was too much to part with for the Minnesota Vikings.
After converting Webb to wide receiver this spring, following a failed emergency playoff start at quarterback when Christian Ponder was out with an injury, the Vikings kept the versatile former sixth-round draft pick for special teams value and depth at an important position.
Webb, in the fourth and final year of his contract, was one of five wide receivers on the 53-man regular-season roster revealed Saturday after the cut deadline.
The Vikings waived 19 players, including wide receivers Stephen Burton, Rodney Smith and former Minnesota State University star Adam Thielen.
Burton, a seventh-round draft pick in 2011, had a strong training camp, but Greg Jennings, Jerome Simpson, Cordarrelle Patterson and Jarius Wright were assured spots.
Marcus Sherels was included as the fifth cornerback, meaning he’ll be the punt returner again this year.
Brandon Burton and Bobby Felder were waived at that position, leaving Chris Cook, Josh Robinson, Xavier Rhodes, A.J. Jefferson and Sherels to defend the vaunted passing attacks in the NFC North and around the league. The Vikings also kept five safeties, waiving Brandan Bishop and Darius Eubanks.
Guard Seth Olson was placed on injured reserve after suffering a concussion in the final preseason game Thursday. Fullback Jerome Felton (three games, substance abuse policy violation) and tackle DeMarcus Love (four games, performance enhancing substance policy violation) don’t count against the limit while serving suspensions by the NFL.
Wide receiver Greg Childs, still recovering from a patellar tendon tear in each knee more than a year ago, is on the physically unable to perform list. Defensive tackle Christian Ballard is on the reserve list, having left the team for unspecified personal reasons.
Also waived: tight ends Colin Anderson and Chase Ford; running back Joe Banyard; offensive linemen Travis Bond, Brandon Keith and Kevin Murphy; defensive tackles Everett Dawkins, Anthony McCloud and Spencer Nealy; defensive ends D’Aundre Reed and Collins Ukwu; and linebacker Tyrone McKenzie.
Bond and Dawkins, seventh-rounders from North Carolina and Florida State respectively, were the only members of this year’s draft picks to be let go. Reed was a seventh-round selection in 2011. McKenzie led the team in 2012 with 20 special teams tackles.
The Vikings kept eight linebackers and nine defensive linemen.
On the other side, they retained eight offensive linemen, three tight ends, three quarterbacks and four running backs. With Felton out until Sept. 23, undrafted free agent Zach Line made the team as a fullback. Line, a standout at SMU, had three receptions for 74 yards and two touchdowns and rushed four times for 18 yards in four preseason games this month.
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