Kurt Coleman – S (2014)
Kurt Coleman is the only player on this list who, at the time of his release of the Vikings in late August of 2014, was already a proven commodity. He was coming off a down 2013 season, but in previous years, he had campaigns of 93 and 78 tackles.
Minnesota was looking for some veteran depth at the safety position and they signed Coleman to a one-year prove-it deal worth just under $1 million.
Coleman spent all camp battling players like Jamarca Sanford, Andrew Sendejo, Robert Blanton, Mistral Raymond, Antone Exum, and Chris Crocker for a backup safety job. It was widely assumed he’d make the team, but he was shockingly released in favor of Blanton, Exum, and Sendejo.
Coleman was reportedly very unhappy with the release and didn’t have kind words to say about his time with the team. He was picked up by the Kansas City Chiefs later that year and ended up starting three games for them during the regular season.
The following season, Coleman signed with the Carolina Panthers and he went off. He had three solid years as a starter in Carolina, racking up 90, 95, and 76 tackles in consecutive seasons. While Coleman thrived, the Vikings continued their safety carousel next to Harrison Smith until finally, Anthony Harris took over that job for good in 2018.
After seeing Coleman’s resurgence from 2015 to 2017, Minnesota was probably kicking themselves for letting him go in favor of a couple of players who eventually flamed out with the club.