Vikings release trio of defensive veterans

Eden Prairie, MN ( - The Minnesota Vikings reached the NFL's 53-man roster limit on Saturday by releasing a host of players, including expected veteran defensive contributors Fred Evans, Chris Crocker and Kurt Coleman.

Evans, a 30-year-old defensive tackle, played 94 games for the Vikings since 2007 but was beat out by the upside of rookie Shamar Stephen, a seventh-round pick in May's draft.

Crocker, a veteran safety who followed new Vikings coach Mike Zimmer from Atlanta to Cincinnati before joining him in Minnesota, was deemed expendable due to the development of third-year player Robert Blanton, who is expected to start alongside his college teammate at Notre Dame, the emerging Harrison Smith.

Coleman was a free-agent signing who spent the first four seasons of his NFL career in Philadelphia.

Minnesota also released center Zac Kerin, cornerbacks Kendall James and Julian Posey, defensive end Justin Trattou, defensive tackles Isame Faciane and Chase Baker, offensive guard Jeff Baca, linebackers Justin Jackson and Mike Zimmer, offensive tackle Mike Remmers, running backs Joe Banyard and Dominique Williams, tight ends Allen Reisner and Chase Ford, and wide receivers Donte Foster and Kain Colter.

In addition Minnesota placed rookie offensive tackle Tiny Richardson (knees) as well as veteran safety Jamarca Sanford (back, quad) on injured reserve.