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Vikings Release AC Leonard

In a shocking turn of events Wednesday, the Vikings released rookie tight end AC Leonard. Leonard, an undrafted free agent out of Tennessee State, was expected by many (including myself) to make the roster as a backup to Kyle Rudolph.

Leonard was a highly recruited prospect out of high school and ended up choosing to attend the University of Florida. His stay in Gainesville did not last long, as he was charged with misdemeanor battery the February after his freshman year. He ended up pleading no contest in April. The details were quite disturbing, as Leonard’s live-in girlfriend alleged he had dragged her by her hair across a room, and investigators said chunks of her hair were missing.

In July 2012, Will Muschamp and Leonard came to a “mutual” agreement that it would be best for the tight end to leave the program. He transferred to the D1-AA Tennessee State, where he would finish out his college career.

In February 2014, Leonard surprised with a 4.50 second 40-yard dash, fastest of all tight ends at the NFL combine.

Minnesota signed him as an undrafted free agent hours after the draft ended, generating optimism from many in its fan base. Leonard is raw, but his athleticism is superb. He was garnering rave reviews early in camp for his acrobatic catches and blazing speed.

Leonard has been out of practice for the past week for what the Vikings called a series of headaches. They said it wasn’t a concussion, just Percy Harvin-esque headaches.

Maybe he has some sort of sickness, or a concussion they didn’t know about. If he clears waivers, the Vikings could put him on injured reserve like they did earlier in the year, with Lestar Jean (released yesterday).

My best guess for why Leonard is out is because he got into some trouble off the field. It’s really difficult for anyone to just give up that much talent, so something must have been wrong. Whether it was a drug addiction, another domestic violence incident or something else, I don’t know. I expect news of an arrest could trickle out in the coming days.

Could his attitude have been an issue? Quite possibly. Anyone who drags a woman by her hair is guaranteed to not be the nicest of people.

This means Allen Reisner will assuredly make the roster, and Mike Higgins (formerly of the Saints) will have a better chance as well. It also means that when Chase Ford is healthy, he will see the field as the #2 tight end.

Leonard’s release leaves the Vikings with an empty roster spot, that should be filled in the next couple days.

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