NFL: Mike Wallace one-and-done with Vikings
By Chris Tomasson St. Paul Pioneer Press MINNEAPOLIS -- The Vikings were interested in bringing Mike Wallace back for significantly less than the $11.5 million he was scheduled to be paid this fall. When the receiver balked, Minnesota released hi...
By Chris Tomasson
St. Paul Pioneer Press
MINNEAPOLIS - The Vikings were interested in bringing Mike Wallace back for significantly less than the $11.5 million he was scheduled to be paid this fall. When the receiver balked, Minnesota released him.
Acquired last March from Miami, Wallace had the least productive season of his career in 2015, catching 39 passes for 473 yards.
The Vikings have no further financial obligation on Wallace, who had two years and $23 million left on a five-year, $60 million contract signed in 2013. That $11.5 million can now be used on other players when the free-agency period officially begins Wednesday.
Wallace was well aware he might not return to Minnesota unless his contract was restructured. He told the Pioneer Press in November, “I’m a pretty smart guy. I understand everything. … That’s a lot of money.”
After re-signing linebacker Audie Cole to a one-year, $760,000 deal on Tuesday, the Vikings have more than $30 million of salary-cap room available. They’re most likely to sign a safety - with Cincinnati’s George Iloka and Reggie Nelson as the top targets - and an offensive lineman.
Even with the loss of Wallace, the Vikings might look for a replacement in the draft rather than sign a member of a week free-agent class. They have the No. 23 overall pick in April’s draft.
Cole wanted a one-year contract, and that’s what he got - as well as a $100,000 raise.
“I’m excited to be back with the Vikings,” said Cole, who is entering his fifth season. “I’ve enjoyed my time here. I’m glad to keep it going.”
Cole’s season ended last November when he fractured an ankle. He said he’s fully healthy and wanted a one-year deal to better position himself for a contract in 2017. He has mostly been a reserve in Minnesota.
“That wasn’t the way that I wanted to finish the season, but I’m feeling good now,” Cole said. “Hopefully, this season will be a lot better.”
Sources said free-agent guard Mike Harris and the Vikings are not close to reaching a deal. Minnesota has offered a two-year contract worth $3.5 million, while the Harris camp is looking for those two years to be in the range of $5 million. ... Sources said cornerback/returner Marcus Sherels wants to return to the Vikings and they have interest in bringing him back at the right price. His base salary last season was $1.05 million. ... The Vikings waived offensive lineman Austin Wentworth, whose career ended after one season last March because of tissue clots in his leg. The Vikings paid him $333,000 of his $510,000 salary last season, although the team had no obligation to do so.
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