John Carlson, who has battled various injuries and concussions throughout his career, announced that he has no plans to retire, and will play in 2014.
John Carlson was a fairly typical Rick Spielman-type signing a couple years back--a guy who has flashed some bona fide talent, but was damaged goods for one of a variety of reasons. In Carlson's case, he was unable to stay healthy in Seattle.
In 2008 and 2009, he topped 50 receptions, started all 16 games in 2010...but missed the entire 2011 with a torn labrum. Still, it was enough to score a 5 year, $25 million contract with the Vikings, with $9 million guaranteed.
For the Litchfield, MN native, his career has been one of frustration as a Viking. He is the #2 guy behind Kyle Rudolph, and only had eight receptions in 2012 while dealing with multiple injuries. With Rudolph being hurt early in 2013, Carlson got more opportunities, and was playing fairly well, developing good chemistry with Matt Cassel. He had really seemed to find a groove as the primary pass catching tight end towards the end of the season, but the fifth concussion of his career against Baltimore ended his season.
At the time he was placed on IR, he never said he was going to retire; it was just assumed that he would, based on all the new information we have learned about the long term damage concussions can cause, but after conferring with his family, Carlson will play in 2014. This upcoming season Carlson is slated to earn $3.9 million in salary, with a $1 million signing bonus. If the Vikings release him, he will count $3 million towards the salary cap.
Whether he remains a Viking or not, we all hope that he can stay healthy and regain the form he was showing towards the end of 2013.