The Vikings have waived tight end AC Leonard, signalling in all likelihood that his final battery of tests indicated something negative about whatever was causing his headache(s), though likely not bad enough to attached the waived/injured designation on him. If the injury was the sole reason for his being waived from the roster, then he would have a case to force an injury agreement with the team (those agreements typically waive any salary if he plays for a team before a designated recovery period by an agreed-upon doctor between a team and an agent).
It is at least interesting that the Vikings didn’t attach an “injured” designation, because that’s the purported reason he didn’t see the field for the Vikings. He left practice early last week with a headache and had to undergo a number of tests with the team to see the field again. When asked on Monday about Leonard, Zimmer said “He’s got a test today and a test tomorrow. We’ll kind of see where it’s at. We’ll see. We have to put him through all these tests. He seems fine, but you know.”
Yesterday, he talked to Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press, and though he said he’d “rather not talk about it,” he anticipated returning to the field soon.
Since his release, I’ve been told that he had persistent headache issues at Tennessee State that kept him out of practices, though he would still play in games. Teammates and others have speculated that these are related to a condition giving him migraines, and have been a worry that—coupled with off-field concerns related to a domestic violence charge against his live-in girlfriend—kept him out of the draft entirely.
While on the practice field for a limited time with the Vikings, Leonard flashed a silky running style that hid surprising explosiveness and sometimes shockingly refined route-running, as well as an understanding of how much surface area to expose to contact at the line. He had inconsistent hands, but from an on-field perspective, that weakness would likely have been well worth a look for a third tight end.
Should the Vikings have a backup option at tight end, either on the roster in Mike Higgins, Chase Ford or Allen Reisner, or on the waiver wire, this move will have a little more context. For now, we can only speculate over whether or not the Vikings waived AC Leonard with a backup in mind, and if off-field concerns played a part.