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Vikings Release Tight End A.C. Leonard

In a surprising move, the Minnesota Vikings have cut the promising free agent tight end.

USA Today

From the We Totally Didn't See This One Coming department, the official Minnesota Vikings Twitter account just dropped this bomb on us Wednesday afternoon:


A.C. Leonard was technically an undrafted free agent, but many had high hopes for him after the Florida transfer had an amazing combine workout. When the Vikings brought him into camp, lots of Vikings fans were excited about the rookie's potential. Unfortunately for Leonard, he wasn't able to stay on the field enough to make an impact in Mankato.

Leonard's absence from the past week of Training Camp was rather conspicuous from the beginning--the coaches would only say that Leonard was suffering from "headaches" but wouldn't call his injury a concussion. That happens, but not even Percy Harvin, King of the Migraines, has been sidelined from a "headache" for this long.

Perhaps the coaches simply thought that Leonard had missed too much time and wouldn't be able to catch up to the rest of his peers in camp. That explanation makes sense on its face--Norv Turner's offense is rather complicated and there's plenty of competition at tight end in camp. The NFL is a cruel business and it waits for no one. Leonard may have just fallen too far behind.

On the other hand, the whole situation seems rather fishy. The Vikings' vague answers about Leonard make me think that something else was up beside just "headaches". We may never find out what was really going on behind the scenes, but the big picture remains the same regardless of what happened--Leonard is no longer a member of the Minnesota Vikings.

Of course there's always the chance that Leonard could slide past waivers and the Vikings could sign him to the practice squad later on. But the timing doesn't really match up if that's the team's ultimate goal. Why release him this early if you want to hold onto him?

Did the move catch you by surprise as well? Do you think the Vikings made a smart move here?