Five-year veteran wide receiver Todd Pinkston was released by the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday, ESPN.com has learned, once again thwarting his attempted comeback from a ruptured right Achilles tendon that sidelined him for the entire 2005 season.
The move, which came two days before the Vikings open the regular season with a Monday night road game against the Washington Redskins, marked the second time in less than two weeks that Pinkston was released. He was cut by Philadelphia on Aug. 30, after he was granted permission by Eagles to seek a trade. He signed with the Vikings two days later.
By releasing Pinkston, the Vikings avoid having to pay his full salary for this season, which would have been guaranteed had he been on the opening day roster.
Although he was still trying to overcome the effects of tendinitis in both Achilles, it was felt Pinkston would make the Minnesota roster. Head coach Brad Childress, the former offensive coordinator in Philadelphia during Pinkston's tenure there, did note this week, however, that the wide receiver still had "a little hitch in his gait," referring to the Achilles problem of a year ago.
One team source said Saturday that Pinkston was victimized by his inability to work much with the Eagles early in camp because of the tendinitis. Pinkston, 29, was not yet in regular-season shape, the source said, and needs more time to complete his rehabilitation. The veteran wideout may need to hook up with a personal trainer, get into a rigorous program and get himself into football shape in hopes that a team might audition him later in the season.
Because of the past relationship with Childress and his familiarity with the offense, Vikings officials hoped he would be able to quickly step in and contribute. But, clearly, his physical limitations did not allow that.
Pinkston, 29, was attractive to the Vikings and a few other teams in large part because of his outstanding deep speed and an impressive career average of 15.3 yards a catch.
A former Southern Mississippi standout and a second-round choice in the 2000 draft, the reed-thin Pinkston has played in 78 games, including 68 as a starter, and has 184 receptions for 2,816 yards and 14 touchdowns. His best season was in 2002, when he had 60 catches for 798 yards and seven touchdowns.
The Vikings signed receiver Maurice Mann
off Seattle's practice squad to fill Pinkston's spot.
Mann, a fifth-round draft pick by Cincinnati in 2004 who has
also spent time with Miami, was a member of the Seahawks' practice
squad last season as well.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.