In non-surprising free agency news, the Minnesota Vikings announced on their official website that they’ve released wide receiver Mike Wallace. The move frees up $11.5 million in salary cap space, giving the Vikings more flexibility when free agency opens tomorrow afternoon.
Wallace was originally acquired in a 2015 trade with the Miami Dolphins. The Vikings sent a fifth-round pick to Miami in exchange for Wallace and a seventh-round pick. In one season with the team, Wallace caught 39 passes for 473 yards and a two touchdowns; disappointing numbers given his 2015 salary cap hit.
According to Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press, Wallace wouldn’t agree to a pay cut to remain with the Vikings. The two sides reportedly met during the NFL Scouting Combine to discuss the restructure, but neither party could come to an agreement on the contract. Tomasson also reports that the Vikings did indeed want to keep Wallace, but at a significantly reduced price.
His release comes with absolutely no dead money, putting Minnesota’s 2016 salary cap space somewhere in the mid-$30 million range. That gives Rick Spielman more the money to pursue free agents like George Iloka, Alex Boone, or Vincent Rey if he so desires.
Over on the free agency live blog, Brett speculates that the release will sway the Vikings to draft a wide receiver in the first round. The hope is that Josh Doctson will be available when the Vikings select 23rd-overall, but plenty can change between now and the end of April. There are also options in free agency, including Jermaine Kearse, Andre Holmes, and Anquan Boldin.
It can be argued that Wallace wasn’t a fit with Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. While Bridgewater is an accurate, consistent NFL quarterback, he doesn’t have the deep ball to take advantage of Wallace’s home-run abilities. Thus, Wallace underproduced in Minnesota and never clicked in an offense that asked him to run more than just streaks and posts down the field. Stefon Diggs, meanwhile, blossomed as the second option; a role he’ll likely keep in 2016.
The Vikings also announced that they’ve waived backup tackle Austin Wentworth.