Minnesota Vikings Claim J’Marcus Webb, Finalize Practice Squad
By Joseph Gunther
The Vikings claimed J’Marcus Webb after the veteran offensive tackle was waived by the Chicago Bears.
The 25-year former seventh round draft pick started 44 games at both left and right tackle for the Bears, including all 16 games in each of the last two seasons. The Vikings will give him every opportunity to be the top backup at both offensive tackle spots.
“We think he can do both, and that is the way we will approach it here,” head coach Leslie Frazier said during his press conference on Monday. “Although Charlie (Johnson) could kick out outside, but we are going to give J’Marcus that chance.”
Webb started at left tackle last season for the Bears, but was moved back to the right side during the offseason.
“We had a chance to line up against him a few times, and we liked his length, that really sticks out at you, along with his athletic ability,” Frazier said. “He is a guy who has shown that he has the ability to be a very good offensive tackle in our league. There are definitely some things that he has to work on to become a complete player. That is one of the reasons that we were able to acquire him. But we like the size, and the experience that he has in the NFL as a tackle.”
Webb (6-7) combines with Phil Loadholt (6-8) and Matt Kalil (6-7) to form one of the most physically intimidating group of offensive tackles in the NFL.
Injury update to come Wednesday
The Vikings have several injury question marks for Sunday’s season opener against the Detroit Lions. The most notable injury is defensive tackle Kevin Williams. However, several other players that were injured during the preseason returned to practice Monday, including defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, safety Mistral Raymond and wide receiver Jarius Wright.
Frazier did not give an update on the Vikings’ injured players.
“We are going to talk about injuries a little bit on Wednesday,” he said. “We will get into more detail on all of those guys on Wednesday.”
Eight signed to practice squad and placed two on IR
The Vikings signed seven players that were previously in the team’s training camp to its practice squad roster Sunday. Running back Joe Banyard, guard Travis Bond, defensive tackle Everett Dawkins, tight end Chase Ford, offensive tackle Kevin Murphy, wide receiver Rodney Smith and wide receiver Adam Thielen were the first wave of practice squad signings.
Then Monday, the team filled its practice squad roster by signing defensive end Tristan Okpalaugo.
Banyard, who spent the end of last season on the Vikings practice squad, led the Vikings in rushing during the preseason with 123 yards on 26 carries.
Bond, a seventh round draft pick, and Murphy, who spent last season on the Vikings practice squad, earned snaps with the second and third team offenses during the preseason.
Dawkins, a seventh round draft pick, recorded five tackles and .5 sacks.
Ford, who spent part of last season on the Vikings’ practice squad, recorded five catches for 51 yards in the preseason.
Smith and Thielen, both undrafted rookies, recorded three catches for 87 yards and two catches for 27 yards, respectively.
Okpalaugo, who played for the Miami Dolphins in the preseason, recorded eight tackles, three sacks and forced a fumble in the preseason.
Cornerback Bobby Felder and defensive end D’Aundre Reed were candidates for the practice squad, but both were placed on the injured reserve.
Felder, who spent last season on the Vikings practice squad, was impressive during the preseason, but suffered an ankle in the preseason finale. Reed, a former seventh round draft pick of the Vikings, spent the last two seasons on the active roster and participated in six games last season.
Two Vikings claimed off waivers
The Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars claimed players that spent the preseason with the Vikings.
The Bills were awarded cornerback Brandon Burton. The fifth round draft pick in 2011 played in 14 games and recorded eight tackles for the Vikings. He is not listed among the five cornerbacks on the unofficial depth chart on the Bills’ official website.
The Jaguars were awarded wide receiver Stephen Burton. The seventh round draft pick in 2011 played in 15 games and amassed seven receptions for 73 yards and one touchdown for the Vikings. He is listed as a third team wide receiver on the unofficial depth chart on the Jaguars’ official website.
For more news and updates, visit Minnesota Vikings Central.
Joseph Gunther is an avid fan of Minnesota sports, including football, hockey and baseball. He covered a wide variety of sports while attending Hastings College in Hastings, Neb. While at Hastings College, he was a part of the first collegiate media group to broadcast a national tournament via television, radio, internet and newspaper at the 2004 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament. He grew up in the Twin Cities playing three years of varsity football in high school. His work can be found on Examiner.com.