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Booty a victim of roster cuts

MINNEAPOLIS -- Maybe that wasn't so hard after all. After several days of speculation about whether the Minnesota Vikings would keep four quarterbacks, the team answered that question Saturday when it announced John David Booty had been placed on...

MINNEAPOLIS -- Maybe that wasn't so hard after all.

After several days of speculation about whether the Minnesota Vikings would keep four quarterbacks, the team answered that question Saturday when it announced John David Booty had been placed on waivers as part of the final cutdown to the regular-season roster limit of 53 players.

Among the other notable cuts were cornerback Marcus McCauley, a third-round draft pick in 2007, and tight end Garrett Mills. All five of this year's draft picks made the roster, including seventh-round safety Jamarca Sanford. Center Jon Cooper was the only undrafted rookie to stick.

The Vikings also put a clear emphasis on special teams, a year after that unit gave up an NFL-record seven touchdowns. There are 11 new faces on the roster, and four of them, cornerback Karl Paymah, linebacker Kenny Onatolu, Brinkley and Sanford, have the potential to make contributions on special teams. Paymah was signed as a free agent from the Denver Broncos in March, and Onatolu joined the Vikings after two seasons playing for Edmonton of the CFL.

The decision to part company with Booty came a day after he struggled in the Vikings' 35-31 loss to Dallas in their preseason finale. Booty completed seven of 13 passes for 85 yards, had an interception returned 44 yards for a touchdown and posted a subpar 42.1 passer rating.

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"He has progressed," Vikings coach Brad Childress said after the game. "But short of telling you he is on the roster, he's not on the roster. He in the middle of it, it is always an evolution. There are some things he is better at, and some things he needs to get better at."

Childress and other Vikings officials weren't made available to comment Saturday.

Booty, who started 23 games in four seasons at Southern Cal before being selected in the fifth round of the 2008 draft, got plenty of reps after Tarvaris Jackson sprained his knee early in training camp in Mankato. Booty, though, never showed the type of consistency the Vikings coaches wanted, and his status on the active roster was put into jeopardy when Brett Favre was signed on Aug. 18.

There was some thought the Vikings might keep four quarterbacks or trade Jackson. The Vikings called other teams to gauge the interest level in Jackson but found no takers.

Jackson and Sage Rosenfels, who began camp battling for the starting job, will be Favre's backups. It remains to be seen which will be designated the No. 3 quarterback for the first regular-season game on Sept. 13 at Cleveland.

Neither can be too thrilled about that prospect, given that Jackson has started 19 regular-season games in three seasons and Rosenfels has started 10 times over the past two seasons.

Childress was asked about the difficulty of keeping four quarterbacks on the active roster after Friday's loss. "The No. 3 (quarterback) only plays a very small percentage of the time," he said. "We have done a bunch of studies about that. Unless you think you have something that you think someone else covets and might be able to get something for them. That would be the reason you hold on to somebody."

Booty's departure from the Vikings could be temporary. The team is believed to be interested in signing him to its practice squad today if he clears waivers. Eight-man practice squads can be established after 11 this morning. Booty is eligible for the practice squad because although he was on the roster last season because he was only active for one game.

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While the Vikings again will go with three quarterbacks this season, there were some changes made as far as how many players were kept at certain positions.

The Vikings entered last season with five wide receivers but increased that figure to six by retaining Jaymar Johnson and Darius Reynaud. They kept one fewer offensive lineman this year (eight instead of nine) but will go with seven linebackers instead of six. Some of that is tied into how much a player can contribute on special teams.

McCauley's lack of ability on special teams is one reason why he was waived. It's likely he will be picked up today by a team looking to add depth in the secondary.

"Good player and friend . . . (he) will be missed on the Vikings," tight end Visanthe Shiancoe tweeted about McCauley on Saturday. "(He's definitely) going to get picked up and shine on another team."

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