Vikings' Jenkins agrees to substantial pay cut
AUG 14, 2012 10:15p ET
MANKATO, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings signed wide receiver Michael Jenkins as a free agent before training camp last season, bringing in a receiver well-versed in offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave's system.
In his second training camp with Minnesota, Jenkins is hoping to stay with the team and has taken at least one step to possibly keeping a spot on the roster. Jenkins has agreed to a pay cut with the Vikings, dropping his base salary this season from $2.5 million to $1 million. If he's still with the team in 2013, he will be paid $825,000, down from $2.5 million.
Jenkins had a roster bonus increase from $750,000 to $2.425 million, according to a report by ESPN1500.com's Tom Pelissero, who first reported Jenkins' new agreement with Minnesota.
The pay cut could be a key for Jenkins in trying to make the Vikings' roster. General manager Rick Spielman overhauled the team during the offseason, cutting several aging and high-priced veterans. Jenkins survived those cuts but had struggled to return from a torn meniscus in his knee.
He missed the final five games last season and was still slowed during organized team activities and minicamp. Jenkins said he felt better when he arrived for training camp and has looked strong catching the ball and working with quarterback Christian Ponder and the offense. However, he hasn't shown any burst or much speed since returning from the knee injury at a time when Minnesota is trying to upgrade its receiving corps.
Jerome Simpson was signed as a free agent in the offseason, but is suspended for the first three games. The Vikings added receivers Jarius Wright and Greg Childs in the draft, but Childs is lost for the season after tearing the patellar tendon in each of his knees. Minnesota signed Bryan Walters as a free agent, and Jenkins is among a group of receivers, including Stephen Burton, Devin Aromashodu, Kerry Taylor and Emmanuel Arceneaux, returning to Minnesota.
Jenkins has received most of his time in training camp with the second-team offense, or practicing with the first-team in three receiver sets. But his speed has appeared sapped, perhaps making the pay cut necessary to stay with the Vikings. Jenkins had one catch for six yards in the preseason opener on Friday, but also dropped a pass in the red zone when Minnesota had to settle for a field goal.
Coach Leslie Frazier is still looking for more behind starters Percy Harvin and Jerome Simpson.
"We have some time and we hope to get our pass game going with the second group," Frazier said. "I thought the first group did some good things with the first football in the air. We're counting on certain guys making plays for us who didn't play. Percy, Jerome would be a factor for us but we know we won't have him for the first three games, Devin will get some opportunities this week, Michael Jenkins will get some opportunities, Bryan will get some opportunities so we still have time."
With Musgrave coming over to the Vikings as the new offensive coordinator last season, and with a frenzied free-agent period due to the lockout, Jenkins was seen as a valuable addition by Minnesota last year. He brought a knowledge of Musgrave's system to an offense trying to adapt to its new coordinator. Musgrave and Jenkins were both with the Atlanta Falcons previously.
Jenkins finished second on the team with 38 catches last season, despite missing the final five games. He had 466 yards receiving and three touchdowns.
The Vikings made a similar effort with receivers Bernard Berrian and Greg Camarillo last season. The two agreed to salary cuts before the season and ended up making the 53-man roster. Berrian was cut midseason and Camarillo finished with just nine catches.
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