Madieu Williams released, saving Vikings roughly $3.5M against cap
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Madieu Williams won't get one more chance to justify his contract.
The Minnesota Vikings announced they have released the 29-year-old safety along with defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy and receiver Freddie Brown on Thursday afternoon, minutes after the NFL's waiver period began.
Williams had three years and $16.5 million remaining on a six-year deal that was renegotiated once for salary-cap purposes in December 2009. Cutting him saves the Vikings nearly $3.5 million against the cap and, just as important, the $5.5 million Williams was due in 2011 salary and bonus.
Meanwhile, the Vikings also agreed to terms on Thursday to retain backup safety Eric Frampton, an NFL source confirmed.
This wasn't the ending either side expected when Williams signed a six-year, $33.75 million contract in March 2008. The onetime University of Maryland standout missed seven games in his first season with a neck injury and never seemed fully recovered.
Williams finished fifth on the team last season with 96 tackles (59 solo), missed 11, allowed a 114.0 passer rating into his coverage and was benched for the first series against Buffalo for being late to the team bus. His Vikings career ended on Dec. 20, when he was run over on consecutive plays by Chicago halfback Matt Forte and suffered a concussion that landed him on injured reserve.
An NFL source said on Tuesday that Williams wouldn't accept another renegotiation and it's not clear if the Vikings even asked. Coach Leslie Frazier had expressed a desire to retain the reigning Walter Payton Man of the Year, though, and the lockout eliminated the team's chances to continue grooming younger backups Tyrell Johnson and Jamarca Sanford.
The Vikings' other starting safety, Husain Abdullah, is a restricted free agent and could wait as late as Aug. 20 to see if he would receive an offer sheet. But Abdullah's agent, CJ LaBoy, said on Tuesday his client is "100% going to sign (the tender) on Friday. Husain can't wait to get back to work."
Frampton, 27, has been one of the Vikings' better special teamers since joining the team in 2007. He battled a hamstring injury last season and finished with 10 special-teams tackles (four solo) in 14 games.
The releases of Kennedy and Brown had been expected since Tuesday. Kennedy was due $2.5 million in base salary this season and the Vikings will save the full amount against the cap.