Vikings Will Cut Tight End John Carlson


Aug 9, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end John Carlson (89) looks on during the second quarter against the Houston Texans at the Metrodome. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a quiet few weeks for the Vikings in terms of roster movement, but with free agency looming things are beginning to happen.

News has now come across of an imminent move, and it’s not a very surprising one. Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports reports the Vikings will part ways with under-performing tight end John Carlson.

Garafolo says the Vikings had been trying to work out a contract re-structure with Carlson but no agreement could be reached.

Carlson was signed two years ago to a deal originally worth $25 million over five years. His disappointing production in 2012 brought about an offseason renegotiation that reduced his base salary for 2013 to $1.5 million.

The tight end was set to make $3.9 million in 2014 with $1.1 million in bonuses. Cutting Carlson now saves the Vikings $2 million against the cap with $3 million in dead money.

And what did the Vikings get for their millions? 40 catches for 387 yards and 1 touchdown. And most of that came last year after Kyle Rudolph was injured and Carlson ascended to #1 tight end.

Carlson’s own 2013 season came to a premature end when he was placed on IR with a concussion.

Fears of future concussion issues – Carlson has suffered several of them over the course of his career – likely played a role in the Vikings trying to get him to restructure for a second straight year.

Carlson was amenable to a restructure last year coming off a terrible season, but his uptick in production for 2013, brought about by an increase in targets, likely convinced him he should hold out against the Vikings’ efforts to leverage him into taking less money.

Now he’ll hit the market. We’ll see if his gamble pays off in the form of a better deal somewhere else.

Of all Rick Spielman’s free agent moves, the original decision to sign Carlson for $25 million remains the most head-scratching. The Vikings did have a need for a pass catching tight end to work backside routes in Bill Musgrave‘s offense, but five years for $25 million?

Never made a lot of sense. Now the puzzling move just looks like a flat out dumb mistake.

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