Vikings Fans Sound off After Plan to Re-Sign CB Backfires

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah

Courtesy of Vikings Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah.

The Minnesota Vikings made a surprising cut on Tuesday, releasing third-year cornerback Harrison Hand ahead of the 80-man roster deadline on August 23.

Hand wasn’t guaranteed to make the final 53-man roster, but his departure was considered premature with the final 53-man roster cutdown due by August 30. There are still many other unproven players who haven’t been part of the organization for nearly as long.

KSTP’s Darren Wolfson revealed the Vikings intended to re-sign Hand — a plan that backfired after Hand didn’t clear waivers the following day. He was instead claimed by the New York Giants.

The Vikings did some damage control by re-signing Tye Smith, who they released in the first waves of cuts on August 16, on Thursday.

The latest Vikings news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Vikings newsletter here!

Join Heavy on Vikings!

Why would Minnesota cut Hand only to re-sign him later?

One fan asked Wolfson, which unearthed an interesting factor that came into play during Tuesday’s cut down.

Vikings Cut Hand to Avoid Paying Injury Settlement

Responding to fans on Twitter, Wolfson revealed that the Vikings opted to take the risk of Hand landing with another team over cutting another player and paying said player an injury settlement.

Die-hard Vikings fan? Follow the Heavy on Vikings Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content from Skol Nation!

An injury settlement would require the Vikings to pay a certain amount of salary to an injured player to release them immediately. It’s a means of lightening the load on the training room, which would have to instead recoup the player to full health and then release him off the injured reserve list.

Replying to a fan who said cutting Hand only in hopes to re-sign him “makes no sense,” Wolfson said Minnesota knew the inherent risk in releasing Hand instead.

Another fan pointed out that the money saved from avoiding an injury settlement seems like petty cash.

“Not sure the number. Was told that was a factor. But hey, they are aware that any time you cut a player like Hand, he could be claimed” Wolfson replied. “All it takes is one team. So, they knew the risk.”

Young CBs Also Played a Factor In Hand’s Release

A fifth-round pick in the 2020 draft, Hand was a consistent special teams contributor over the past two seasons. He also saw defensive snaps his rookie season, notching an interception and three passes defended in six games.

Hand was buried beneath veteran additions last season in  Patrick Peterson, Bashaud Breeland and Mackensie Alexander. Breeland nor Alexander panned out and were not re-signed in the offseason.

The new regime drafted a pair of rookie cornerbacks in second-rounder Andrew Booth Jr. and fifth-round pick  Akayleb Evans. Both young corners impressed and appear to be the primary backups behind outside corners Cameron Dantzler and Peterson.

Meanwhile, Nate Hairston, who worked under Ed Donatell with the Denver Broncos last season, is considered the first backup to slot corner Chandon Sullivan.

Kris Boyd, Myles Dorn,  Parry Nickerson and Smith are currently on the 53-man roster bubble dependent on how many corners Minnesota intends to keep come August 30.

If Hand makes the Giants’ 53-man roster, he’ll have a reunion slated for Week 16 when Minnesota hosts New York on Christmas Eve in its final home game of the season.

Read More