John Carlson was hoping to come back from his Week 13 concussion and play out the last two games of what for him had been a resurgent season. But symptoms related to the head injury recurred during practice this week and the Vikings were forced to shut him down.
On Saturday the Vikings brought Carlson’s 2013 season to an end by placing the tight end on injured reserve.
Carlson came into the season with plenty to prove. He signed a rather large free agent contract before 2012 but fought through a brutal campaign, catching only 8 balls on the season. The alarming lack of production forced Carlson into a no-leverage situation in the offseason, and the Vikings took advantage by forcing him into a contract renegotiation that transformed several millions of guaranteed money into incentive-based money.
Things looked like they were headed south again this year but an injury to Kyle Rudolph increased Carlson’s role in the offense, and with that increased role came increased production. From Week 8 until Week 13, Carlson caught 25 passes for 306 yards and a TD.
But his week 13 concussion put him on the shelf, ending his prove-it run. That same concussion, the fifth of his college and pro life, may ultimately spell the end for Carlson’s career in football.
The tight end is reportedly mulling retirement as we speak. This would be a pretty sad way for Carlson to go out after the way he’s fought through all his injury problems. He finally got a chance to shine halfway through the year in Minnesota, but the old concussion bug bit him again.
The Vikings will go with Chase Ford as their starting tight end this week against Cincinnati.