The Nate Meadors Watch started Aug. 29, just after the Minnesota Vikings’ final exhibition game loss to Buffalo.
Would the onetime San Gorgonio High Spartan make the Vikings’ opening game, 53-man roster as a cornerback?
Matt Maeda, San G’s athletic director who watched every Meadors move throughout his 2010-2015 prep career, had a few questions.
“Is [Jeyron] Kearse a starter?”
Kearse is starting free safety and Meadors was fifth on the Vikings’ CB depth chart behind projected starter Trae Waynes and backup Mike Hughes — not a good sign for Meadors.
“I texted him congratulations on his interception [TD return against New Orleans in Minnesota’s exhibition opener],” said Maeda.
Maeda noted that he’d been in contact with Ron Gueringer, Meadors’ coach during his playing years at San G. It was part of the Meadors Watch.
Early on Saturday’s cut day, Gueringer said he didn’t think “it would happen.”
One negative sign for Meadors was that the Vikings traded for undrafted free agent CB Mark Fields (Clemson) from Kansas City on Saturday.
The Vikings came into the weekend with nine cornerbacks on a 90-man roster. The move for Fields evidently shows they weren’t satisfied with that group with the start of the regular season at hand.
It’s the second year that the NFL has held final cuts at the end of training camp. Until last season, mid-camp cuts allowed players to seek other teams.
It was also a sign if players appeared in the game against Buffalo. Players held out of the game were being preserved for this week’s opening game, though it wasn’t a certainty.
“Guys are still playing for a spot on the team,” said Maeda.
“Players who have been cut are looking for teams,” said Gueringer, who left San G after its 2016 CIF championship to coach at Corona High.
Matt reflected Gueringer’s sentiment, but there’s a slight snag.
Under those new NFL rules, every player will be on the market at the same time, which could make it more difficult for players to find a new team.
Meadors, 22, spent his collegiate years at UCLA playing for Jim Mora Jr. and Chip Kelly.
Meadors has played some special teams in the Vikings’ four pre-season games, adding another hope in making the roster.
He’s also eligible to make the Vikings’ 10-man practice squad.
A day after rosters were set, the Vikings announced that Meadors was one of eight players signed to the practice squad. It means that the ex-Spartan is still on Minnesota’s payroll. Gueringer got word first, alerting area followers of Meadors’ status.
There is a short list of local connections to the Vikings.
Rookie RB Alexander Mattison, twice a 2,000-yard runner at San Bernardino High, left Boise State early and was taken in the second round last spring. He will make the Vikings’ 2019 roster.
Then there’s Banning High product Derron Smith, a three-year veteran (Cincinnati and Cleveland) who played as the No. 2 strong safety behind All-Pro Harrison Smith.
In the end, neither Meadors nor Smith made the final roster. Mattison will line up as the backup tailback.
The other area connection is Redlands’ Brian Billick, who prepped for his career as Baltimore Ravens head coach by serving as Vikings’ offensive coordinator during the Warren Moon and Randall Cunningham QB years.