We can confirm ESPN’s Adam Schefter's report that the Vikings have released veteran Michael Jenkins, the first domino to fall in an offseason during which the organization is expected to overhaul its receiving corps.
Jenkins spent two seasons with the Vikings, totaling 78 catches, 915 yards and five touchdowns. He was well-liked within the locker room and often praised by receivers coach George Stewart, who nicknamed Jenkins “The Professor” due to his understanding of the offense and overall professionalism.
But after nine seasons in the league, Jenkins is little more than a complementary part. He will turn 31 years old in June. And had the Vikings kept him on their roster past March 16, they would have owed him a roster bonus of more than $2.4 million.
From a business standpoint, releasing the veteran was the only move that made sense. Jenkins had accepted a pay cut during training camp last summer that took his 2012 salary from $2.5 million down to $1 million. That move allowed him to stick on the roster for one more year. But on Monday the Vikings stopped delaying the inevitable.
Jenkins’ two seasons with the Vikings produced few highlight reel moments. Thought it should be noted that he was on the receiving end of Christian Ponder’s first completion as a starter in 2011, a 72-yard connection against the Packers. Jenkins also scored the Vikings’ final two touchdowns this past season. He hauled in a 3-yard grab from Ponder in Week 17, fueling a 37-34 win over the Packers in the regular season finale. He also had a 50-yard score from Joe Webb in the team’s playoff loss to Green Bay at Lambeau Field.
With Jenkins now released, the void at receiver becomes more pronounced.
Percy Harvin had a team-best 62 catches for 677 yards and three scores last season despite playing only nine games. But Harvin’s future with the team remains somewhat iffy as rumors have circulated for the past month that he may be traded. Furthermore, Jerome Simpson and Devin Aromashodu are both eligible to hit free agency next week. Which leaves Jarius Wright and Stephen Burton as the only two receivers from last season who seem certain to be with the team when training camp opens in Mankato this summer.
Greg Childs, a fourth-round draft pick last year, spent all of the 2012 season on injured reserve and is still attempting a comeback after rupturing the patella tendons in both knees during training camp.