Last week, as we sorted through the Vikings’ wide receiver depth, we told you that Michael Jenkins was locked in a fierce battle with Father Time.
Jenkins, who turned 30 in mid-June and had his 2011 season ended by a torn meniscus in his knee, wants badly to stick around with the Vikings. And the coaching staff feels he can be a veteran presence for an otherwise green receiving corps. At full strength, Jenkins could provide a reliable target for second-year quarterback Christian Ponder. He is, after all, entering his ninth NFL season and seems to have a grasp on offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave's system.
But Jenkins has had several things standing in his way as he fights to make the roster. For starters, his age and the knee injury seem to have slowed him down significantly. At many points during camp, he has lacked the quickness to separate from defensive backs. And there are no indications to say he could be anything more than an ordinary receiver at best going forward.
On top of that, Jenkins had held a contract that would have had the Vikings paying him $2.5 million for the 2012 season if he was still on the roster on opening day. But to give the organization greater incentive to keep him, Jenkins agreed to have his deal restructured. And now, according to NFLPA records, his base salary for 2012 has dropped to $1 million, a pay cut that could allow him a better chance to hang around.
A year ago, the Vikings worked through similar renegotiations with receivers Bernard Berrian and Greg Camarillo and both ended up making the team with significantly lower salaries than they were originally due. But keep in mind, neither Berrian or Camarillo produced much in 2011 either. Together they produced exactly 16 catches for 212 yards.
So even with the lower price tag, Jenkins will still have to show a few things in the remaining three weeks of the preseason to justify a spot on the 53-man roster.
A $1 million salary may seem like a 60 percent off deal on the surface. But a deal is only worthwhile if the product is useful.