MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Vikings will release veteran tight end John Carlson after two injury-marred seasons.
A person with knowledge of the decision confirmed Tuesday to The Associated Press that the team will make the move. The person spoke condition of anonymity because the team had not yet finalized the transaction.
The Vikings had no announcement. The news was first reported by FoxSports.com.
Carlson was a multi-sport star at Litchfield High School, a small town about 65 miles west of the Twin Cities, and a standout at Notre Dame. He was drafted in the second round in 2008 by Seattle. Listed at 6-foot-5 and 248 pounds, Carlson had the ideal size for the position and showed he could be productive when healthy, totaling 1,201 yards and 12 touchdowns over his first two years in the NFL with the Seahawks.
He tore the labrum in his left shoulder in 2011, though, and missed that entire season. The Vikings took a risk by signing Carlson in free agency to a contract with more than $9 million guaranteed following that whole year off. Right away in his first training camp with his home-state team he sprained the medial collateral ligament in his left knee.
The Vikings wanted to use him in tandem with Kyle Rudolph, another Notre Dame star and second-round draft pick. But Carlson never caught up after returning from that injury and had only eight receptions for 43 yards in 2012. With the same plan in 2013, after reducing his salary to keep him on the roster, Carlson continued to be mostly an afterthought in the offense.
When Rudolph broke his left foot, Carlson reminded the team and the league of his ability in the next game, catching seven passes for 98 yards against Washington, with his only touchdown for the team. Carlson remained productive with Rudolph out that month, but then he suffered a concussion — at least the third of his NFL career — at Baltimore on Dec. 8 and did not play again.
Carlson was scheduled to make $3 million in 2014.
With Rudolph returning from his injury, the Vikings have Rhett Ellison and Chase Ford behind him at the position.