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Updated: March 21st, 2012 3:27pm
After NFL punishes Saints, Vikings release nose tackle Remi Ayodele

After NFL punishes Saints, Vikings release nose tackle Remi Ayodele

by Judd Zulgad
1500ESPN.com
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The Minnesota Vikings released nose tackle Remi Ayodele, ending his stint with the team after one season.

The decision came following Wednesday's announcement by the NFL of sanctions against the New Orleans Saints for having a bounty program for members of their defense from 2009 through 2011.

Ayodele was with the Saints from 2008 and 2010 before signing with the Vikings last summer as a free agent after the lockout. A Vikings spokesman said Wednesday that team officials were traveling and not available to comment.

The NFL's punishment of the Saints included a one-year suspension for coach Sean Payton. However, no action was taken against the players who participated in the bounty program because the league and NFL Players Association are still working through that issue.

Once that is done, it's expected discipline against players will be announced.

Ayodele was involved on a high-low hit of former Vikings quarterback Brett Favre in the third quarter of the Saints' overtime victory in the NFC Championship Game in January 2010. Defensive lineman Bobby McCray also was involved in that hit and shortly thereafter the league fined him and fellow lineman Anthony Hargrove a total of $25,000 for three separate illegal hits in the game.

Favre suffered a badly sprained left ankle on the McCray-Ayodele high-low play and was helped off the field. However, the quarterback continued to play in the game. According to a Sports Illustrated story, Hargrove excitedly slapped hands with teammates after Favre was injured, saying, "Favre is out of the game! Favre is done! Favre is done!"

The Vikings had re-signed defensive tackles Fred Evans and Letroy Guion in recent weeks and made it clear that Guion would be shifted from the three-technique, behind Kevin Williams, to nose tackle. Evans' signing became official Wednesday.

Ayodele received a three-year, $9 million deal with the Vikings before last season, including a $3.565 million signing bonus. The Vikings were scheduled to pay Ayodele a $750,000 deferred portion of his signing bonus last Thursday.

Ayodele's lone season with the Vikings turned out to be a disappointment.

He played only 253 snaps (23.9%), splitting time with Guion and Evans at a position that became a major weakness following veteran Pat Williams' departure.

Tom Pelissero contributed

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays and "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Judd | @1500ESPNJudd | Mackey & Judd
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