Today’s Top 5: 9.1.17

1. Hurricane help: When Hurricane Harvey ravaged the Houston area and other parts of Texas, the Dolphins organization approached their players from Houston and asked how it could help. The players involved mentioned that they needed critical care items, so the organization organized a donation drive to send items like water, sanitizer wipes, clothing, etc. A full list can be found at Safety Michael Thomas’ neighborhood high school is now serving as a shelter that is housing more than 2,200 displaced people impacted by the storm. The Dolphins wanted to start sending items there. Another player from the Houston area is cornerback Xavien Howard. The Dolphins’ hurricane relief effort so far has produced approximately 4,222 cubic feet of donations (which includes the pallets) to this point. Included are seven pallets of water; one pallet of diapers; three pallets of non-perishable food; and one pallet of animal food and supplies including clothes, bedding, school supplies, hygiene products, etc. Fans can visit or call (305) 943-7900 for information on making a donation now through Sept. 15. Fans in South Florida can drop off items to be shipped to Houston at Hard Rock Stadium or the Baptist Health Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University.

2. Preseason wraps up: The Dolphins ended the preseason in style with a 30-9 victory against the Minnesota Vikings, their most lopsided victory in a preseason finale since 1997 when they beat the Washington Redskins 28-7. It was the second consecutive game the Dolphins reached 30 points, making it the first time since 1981 and the third time in franchise history they had two 30-point games in a preseason. It also had been 30 years since a Dolphins quarterback had thrown three touchdown passes in a preseason game before David Fales did it Thursday night. It last had been done by Don Strock in a 1987 game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

3. Managing Maualuga: Along with those who watched the game from the sideline Thursday night, the Dolphins also left behind in South Florida some of their more prominent players, such as Mike Pouncey, Ndamukong Suh and Cameron Wake. Another player who didn’t make the trip to Minneapolis was linebacker Rey Maualuga, who was signed two weekends ago. Head Coach Adam Gase said the plan had been to bring Maualuga and possibly have him play against the Vikings, but the decision ultimately was made to have Maualuga stay behind and continue working on his conditioning as a better way of trying to get the veteran ready for the start of the regular season.

4. McDonald moment: Among the front-line players who participated in the Minnesota game was safety T.J. McDonald, who finds himself now having to serve an eight-game league suspension. This means McDonald saw his last game action until Week 9 of the regular season when the Dolphins will face the Oakland Raiders at Hard Rock Stadium. McDonald looked impressive Thursday, as he did all preseason, finishing with two tackles and one pass defensed.

5. The next step: With the preseason over, it’s now time for the Dolphins and every team in the NFL to focus on getting down to the roster limit of 53 players. That must be done before 4 p.m. Eastern time Saturday, but by no means does it mean that the roster necessarily will be finalized by then. With the new league rule eliminating the cutdown from 90 to 75, it means an additional 15 players will have to be trimmed off the roster Saturday compared to previous years. Some of the roster moves for the Dolphins seem likely, such as placing cornerback Tony Lippett, linebacker Raekwon McMillan and guard Ted Larsen on injured reserve, though Larsen is a candidate to be brought back later in the season. The aforementioned McDonald will not count against the 53-man roster while he serves his suspension, which means one less player to cut at this time. Even then, there will be tough decisions to make at several different positions on the roster, particularly the offensive line, defensive line and secondary.