The Minnesota Vikings are expected to release tight end John Carlson, according to FOX Sports.
The move doesn't come as much of a surprise. Carlson restructured his contract last year to lower his salary cap number to $2.55 million for 2013 after the contract he initial signed with the Vikings called for a $4 million cap charge in 2013.
However, his restructured deal last year didn't address his salary in 2014, 2015 or 2016, the final three years of the five-year, $25 million deal he signed in 2012. The Vikings and Carlson had been talking about a restructuring again this year but couldn't come to terms, resulting in his expected release.
General manager Rick Spielman indicated at the NFL Scouting Combine last month that restructuring existing contracts was a possibility.
"Potentially. We're open to all avenues: cuts, restructures, trades, signing UFAs, drafting players. We're an equal opportunity employment agency," Spielman said.
Carlson was scheduled to have base salaries of $3.9 million in 2014 and $4.9 million each in 2015-16. His cap number for 2014 was set to balloon to $5 million this year and $6 million each of the final two years of his contract.
By releasing him, the Vikings would save $2 million against this year's salary cap – the $5 million cap charge minus the $3 million in prorated signing bonus that would escalate onto this year's salary cap.
After playing three seasons for the Seattle Seahawks, Carlson played in 14 games, starting six, in 2012 and played in 13 games, starting eight, in 2013. Injuries, including multiple concussions, have plagued his career the last three years.
In 2012, his first season with the Vikings, he caught only eight passes for 43 yards playing behind Kyle Rudolph. Last year, he caught 32 passes for 344 yards and a touchdown, much of that production coming after he moved into Rudolph's role when the younger Notre Dame product was out with a foot injury.
"It's been fun to feel like I'm contributing on the offensive side of the ball, or really in any way. Last year (2012) didn't go, obviously, the way I wanted it to go. On a football team, or I guess on any team, everyone wants to feel like they're contributing, doing their part and helping the team win," Carlson said in early December, just weeks before his season ended when he suffered his third concussion in a three-year span.
Carlson is from Litchfield, Minn.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
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