Devante Downs is flying the Snohomish County banner in the NFL.
The Mountlake Terrace High School product and Minnesota Vikings linebacker was the lone local to survive Saturday’s NFL cutdowns, as teams reduced their rosters from 90 to 53 players in advance of the regular season beginning next weekend.
Downs was a seventh-round pick by the Vikings in this year’s NFL draft out of the University of California. He was in the midst of a big senior season with the Bears last fall when he suffered a season-ending knee injury that threatened his NFL prospects. But Downs showed Minnesota enough to stick, at least to start the season. He appeared in two games during the preseason, recording four tackles. He was held out of Minnesota’s preseason finale Thursday at Tennessee because of a foot ailment.
Downs was considered a bubble player for making Minnesota’s final roster prior to cuts being made. He was one of five linebackers kept on the roster by the Vikings.
While Downs made the final cut, three other local players were waived by their teams Saturday.
The biggest surprise was Mariner High School graduate KeiVarae Russell being waived by the Cincinnati Bengals. Russell, a third-year cornerback out of Notre Dame, is a former third-round draft pick who appeared in eight games with the Bengals last season. He was thought to have an inside track on making the final roster, but was not among the six cornerbacks retained by Cincinnati.
Also waived were Cascade offensive lineman Randin Crecelius and Archbishop Murphy defensive tackle Taniela Tupou. Crecelius, a rookie free agent out of Portland State, was in camp with the Baltimore Ravens. Tupou, a third-year player out of the University of Washington, was signed the previous week by the Arizona Cardinals to serve as depth because of injuies on the defensive line.
Lakewood center Dustin Stanton, a second-year undrafted free agent out of Oregon State who was in camp with the Dallas Cowboys, was waived by Dallas earlier in the week with an injury designation after suffering a knee injury in the Cowboys’ third preseason game last Sunday against Arizona. Stanton, who had been working as Dallas’ No. 2 center, cleared waivers and reverted to the Cowboys’ injured-reserve list.
Russell, Crecelius and Tupou are all eligible to be claimed off waivers by the NFL’s other teams, which would need to place any claimed players on their 53-man rosters. If they clear waivers, all three are eligible to be signed to NFL practice squads beginning at 10 a.m. Sunday.