In a move that was long thought to be coming, the Minnesota Vikings released wide receiver Michael Jenkins on Monday. The move clears an extra $3.25 million in salary cap space for the Vikings, since Jenkins was due a $2.425 million roster bonus on March 16 on top of his $825,000 base salary for 2013.
Jenkins signed a three-year, $8.75 million deal with the Vikings prior to the 2011 season, perhaps partially due to his ties to offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave from their days together with the Atlanta Falcons, but Jenkins continued to underachieve on the field as he has throughout his career. Over two seasons in Minnesota he had just 78 receptions for 915 yards with five touchdowns, though he did miss the last five games of the 2011 season due to a torn meniscus in his left knee.
The Vikings were reported to be considering letting Jenkins go last summer, but his roster spot was saved when he agreed to take a pay cut. Part of the restructured deal was increasing this month’s roster bonus from $750,000 to the previously mentioned $2.425 million, which even at the time the Vikings seemed unlikely to pay when it came time to do so. Of course Jenkins could have had an excellent 2012 season and been a big part of a rejuvenated Vikings’ passing offense, but it was not to be.
Releasing Jenkins is the first move in what is likely to be a significant house cleaning for the Vikings’ wide receiver group as free agency gets going and April’s draft gets closer. Devin Aromashodu and Jerome Simpson are slated to become free agents, and one of the remaining five wide receivers under contract for 2013 is Percy Harvin, who will have trade rumors surrounding him all offseason.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.