The Vikings began to clear salary-cap space on Tuesday, informing veteran defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy that he would be let go.
Kennedy, 31, revealed that he would be cut on his Twitter account. "Viking fans, thank you for accepting me as your own, but I'm sorry to inform you I am no longer with the team. I love you guys."
Kennedy actually can't be let go until Thurday afternoon when the waiver period will begin for the 2011 league year. Kennedy joined the Vikings late in 2008 when it looked as if defensive tackles Pat and Kevin Williams could be suspended for violating the NFL's anti-drug policy in what turned into the StarCaps case.
He played in 13 games, primarily as a backup in 2009, and then was signed to two-year contract before last season. Kennedy, though, appeared in only nine games in 2010 and had little impact on the defense.
The Vikings shave off a $2.5 million cap hit by letting him go. The most recent reports put the Vikings at $4.3 million over the $120 million salary cap.
The decision to jettison Kennedy leaves the Vikings thin at nose tackle, especially if 38-year-old Pat Williams is allowed to leave as a free agent. The Kennedy move could be an indication the Vikings will try to bring back Williams on a one-year deal.
“It definitely was a surprise," Kennedy said when reached on the phone. "I appreciate the opportunity that the Vikings gave me. I think it’s a fantastic organization that allowed me to be Jimmy Kennedy so you go out there and play next to great guys like Jared [Allen], Kevin [Williams] and to learn in year nine, be proud to call myself Pat Williams’ apprentice, was fantastic for me. It definitely was a shock and a surprise [to be released].
"I talked to d-line coach [Karl Dunbar] last night. He was talking positive and everything was great. The conversation today, like literally, we were stunned. I love the team, I love the Vikings. Like I said, I thank God for the opportunity [from the Vikings] to even deal with me and allow me to show my talent and I wish them the best.”
Kennedy was the 12th overall pick in the 2003 draft by the St. Louis Rams but never lived up to expectations. He also has played for Denver, Chicago and Jacksonville.
The Vikings also have informed wide receiver Freddie Brown that he will be released.
Also, as expected, the Vikings have been in talks with the agent for free-agent safety Eric Weddle, who has been with San Diego. However, the talks between David Canter and the Vikings seem to be very exploratory at this point.
Weddle's preference is to remain in San Diego but he recently listed the Vikings, Jacksonville, Dallas and Carolina as potential landing spots if he does leave.