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Minnesota Football: Gophers in the NFL Week 1

The Gophers will have a double digit number of alums in the league this fall

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Training Camp Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

The NFL season has arrived. The 32 teams have cut down their rosters from the 80-man limit through training camp down to the final 53-man rosters as they go into the season. Along with the 53-man roster all the teams are allowed an expanded practice squad this season of 16 players—an increase over the former limit of 10. Additionally there is no experience requirement on the practice squad this season for six players on the roster, where as previously if you were a two year vet or older...sorry you out of luck.

Minnesota will have nine full alums, and ten former players on active NFL rosters to begin the season and another two on practice squads as we enter Week 1. Here is a full list, what their playing time situation looks like, and who they will face to kick off the NFL season this weekend!

Maxx Williams— Tight End— Arizona Cardinals

Week 1 @ San Francisco 49ers

Maxx is listed as the #1 tight end on the Cardinals depth chart and he will see a lot of time especially in blocking downs. Max will find a way to catch a few balls from Kyler Murray though. Don’t be surprised to see Williams get a decent amount of special teams reps as well.

De’Vondre Campbell—Linebacker—Arizona Cardinals

Week 1 @ San Francisco 49ers

Campbell heads west to Arizona and will see plenty of playing time on the Cardinals defense. He will be one of two linebackers on the field in the Cards nickel package and should see plenty of normal time in the base defensive set as well.

Chris Streveler-QB-Arizona Cardinals

Week 1 @ San Francisco 49ers

So I completely whiffed on him in my camp article last week. I missed that he was in Cardinals camp, and then when he was named the #3 quarterback on Saturday. Streveler most likely won’t see a ton of action at QB, but with the new NFL rule increasing the active game day roster to 48 players rather than the usual 46, it’s possible that Streveler could see some designed plays similar to what the New Orleans Saints have done with Taysom Hill.

Eric Murray—Safety—Houston Texans

Week 1 @ Kansas City Chiefs (TNF)

Murray is set to begin the season as a starter at safety for the Texans. Houston will be one of at least three teams in a dog fight for the AFC South with the Tennessee Titans and the Indianapolis Colts all thinking they can win the division. Jacksonvile—not so much.

Damien Wilson—Linebacker—Kansas City Chiefs

Week 1 Vs Houston Texans (TNF)

Wilson and his Super Bowl Champion Chiefs squad will celebrate their title in the season opener on Thursday night against the Texans and Wilson’s former teammate in Eric Murray. Expect Wilson to see plenty of action as one of the starting linebackers for KC.

Blake Cashman—Linebacker—New York Jets

Week 1 @ Buffalo Bills

Cashman returns to action after missing the last half of his rookie season with a shoulder injury. He currently is slotted in as a second team inside linebacker for the Jets but he showed he can cover tight ends well and may see more action in the Jets nickel packages. Either way Cashman will be a special teams maven again.

Antonine Winfield Jr—Safety—Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Week 1 @ New Orleans Saints

Tampa Bay made it official when they released their depth chart on Monday that Winfield had won a starting job and will be the starting free safety for the Bucs when they open the season in New Orleans against the Saints. Hopefully Drew Brees won’t make Winfield look too much like a rookie in his first NFL game.

Tyler Johnson-WR-Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Week 1 @ Buffalo Bills

After a week of uncertainty whether he would make the final roster or not, Tyler did squeak onto the 53-man roster for the Bucs. While he is the #5 wide receiver after missing much of camp with nagging injuries hopefully TJ can earn some playing time as the season goes on, or at least see some special teams action. But don’t expect much time early in the season.

Carter Coughlin-LB-New York Giants

Week 1 vs Pittsburgh Steelers (MNF)

Coughlin also just snuck on the Giants 53-man roster cut by the skin of his teeth. Coughlin is well down the depth chart but may see some special teams action early as his motor should be especially effective in that role. Don’t expect to see him much in a defensive role early in the year though.

Kamal Martin—LB—Green Bay Packers

Talk about a change in just a week. Last weekend Kamal Martin was taking Green Bay by storm and had appeared he had a starting job at linebacker lined up and would start his first NFL game at US Bank Stadium against his hometown Minnesota Vikings. Then came the news mid week that Martin had torn his miniscus and would miss 6-8 weeks of the regular season. Ouch. Martin was put on IR by the Packers on Monday. Normally this would be a major bummer and Martin would need to miss at least half the season if not more. Though—he may anyways after knee surgery. But, with the new IR rules in the NFL this season, if a player is put on IR during the season, they only need to be out for three weeks. Thus Martin should return sometime around midseason for Green Bay and hopefully step into a role with lots of playing time.

Practice Squad Players

Chris Williamson-Safety—New York Giants

Williamson was the only one of the Giants ten 2020 draft picks to get cut on Saturday, but after he cleared waivers he was immediately signed to the Giants practice squad.

Ryan Santoso-Kicker/Punter-New York Giants

After not being on any NFL training camp roster, the Giants made a surprise move and signed Santoso to their practice squad on Saturday. Santoso is special as he can both punt and kick giving the Giants flexibility if one of their two starters gets injured or comes down with COVID. Santoso spent three games on the Tennessee Titans roster last season and while he never took a field goal or extra point attempt he did kick off and recorded touchbacks on nine of 16 kickoffs.

Final Cuts

Tramaine Brock—Defensive Back—Jacksonville Jaguars

Brock was signed late to Jaguars camp and then was put on IR with a hamstring injury. However since he was put on IR prior to the final 53 man cut down, Brock will miss the entire 2020 season.

MarQueis Gray—Tight End-San Francisco 49ers

Gray was signed very late in camp—just a week ago by the 49ers who then cut him on Saturday. He was not signed to the practice squad and will become a free agent and wait and see if anyone else gives him a call in the next few weeks.