Vikings receiver Mike Wallace won’t be back in 2016 at his current contract, which calls for an $11.5 million salary cap hit.
That’s just common sense. One doesn’t catch 39 balls for 473 yards and two touchdowns and get paid as one of the top receivers in the league.
But that doesn’t mean coach Mike Zimmer doesn’t want Wallace to return in 2016.
“I was disappointed and, really, I’m disappointed more so that it wasn’t the season that he wanted or we wanted,” Zimmer said today. “I say this from my heart: I love this kid, I love the way he works, I love the way he competes. I texted him last night basically and told him the same thing.
“I said, ‘You know, I know this wasn’t exactly how we planned it out.’ But I love him as a person, a competitor, a football player and I’m disappointed that it didn’t pan out the way I envisioned it and that really and honestly, he’s always going to be one of my kind of guys. I like this kid.”
Wallace came to Minnesota from Miami with a reputation for being a selfish malcontent as a Dolphin. He never once appeared to be that way with the media, and he routinely was the last guy to leave the field after catching extra balls from the Juggs machine.
Zimmer said today that Wallace never complained about not getting the ball, even though Wallace tied his 2009 rookie season for career low in catches while posting career lows for receiving yards (by 283 yards) and touchdowns (by three).
Asked if he thinks Wallace will return, Zimmer said, “I don’t know. Those are all things we have to determine here in the next week moving forward. I would like him back, I love the kid, I love his heart. He just went and worked every day and tried to get guys better. He loves it here, he loves Teddy. If it can get worked out, I’d like to have him back.
“But I want to do what’s best for Mike Wallace, too. I told most of the players that are free agents, that I want them to do what’s best for them. Obviously, I want them back. It’s important to me, they have shorter careers, not always than coaching, but they have shorter careers and it’s important for me to make sure that they get to the right place, whatever they feel is right.”