Let me first say this: I don’t believe for a second that Visanthe Shiancoe is in any danger of being cut by the Vikings. We know how much Bill Musgrave loves using tight ends, and Shiancoe is our best offensive weapon at that position by a fairly wide margin (unless and until Kyle Rudolph surpasses him). Shiancoe may have missed the entire preseason with a bad hammy, but we have no reason to believe he will not be ready to go when the real games kick off next weekend.
I say all that in preface to this: Rick Spielman made a remark during last night’s Vikings-Texans telecast that sounds suspiciously like a hint that Shiancoe could be in danger of getting cut for cap reasons (Shank’s number for 2011 is $4.5 million, and as we know the Vikings are hard up against the cap).
The rumor-sparking remark was dropped with time winding down in the fourth quarter, after Spielman had been sitting there yakking with Ari Wolfe and Mike Mayock for at least an hour. Mayock brought up the fact that Shiancoe is in his contract year. Spielman’s response could be construed as a general statement about the dynamics of constructing a roster under the restrictions of a salary cap, or it could be seen as a specific remark about Shiancoe’s status. Here is the full quote from Spielman:
That’s one thing from a contract standpoint, we have to start identifying guys and Rob Brzezinski does a great job managing our cap, making sure we’re able to stay competitive year-in and year-out, going out and getting players that we need to get. So, there’ll be some tough decisions and a lot of it can be cap-related as well when you make these roster cuts.
Again, this may only have been Spielman thinking aloud, and not talking specifically about any player including Shiancoe. But the fact that he made that remark right after discussing Shiancoe’s contract status does have to give you pause. Is it possible Spielman was loopy from being stuck in a booth with Mike Mayock and Ari Wolfe for most of a half of football and spilled a piece of information he otherwise would not have wanted getting out there?
It’s intriguing, but in the end the evidence is far too flimsy. It’s likely Spielman was just conversing generally about cap issues and wasn’t accidentally dropping any inside info about specific players. There’s no reason for Shiancoe or his fans to worry: Shank will still be on the Vikings after Saturday afternoon’s cut-down deadline.