Vikings release Taylor Mays


When safety Taylor Mays signed with the Vikings as a free agent in March, the feeling was that rejoining former Bengals defensive coordinator and current Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer would put Mays in position to earn playing time in Minnesota.

If Mays was in that position during the team’s offseason work, he failed to take advantage of the opportunity. The Vikings announced Tuesday that they have released Mays less than three months after agreeing to a deal with him in the first place.

Reports during OTAs had Mays working with reserve defensive units, which has generally been the case for Mays over the course of his NFL career. He’ll try to land somewhere else where there’s more call for his ability to play a safety-linebacker hybrid role and contribute on special teams.

The Vikings, meanwhile, will move forward with Harrison Smith, Robert Blanton, Andrew Sendejo, Antone Exum and Anthony Harris at safety.

46 responses to “Vikings release Taylor Mays

  1. Apparently, it doesn’t take long to see that a guy isn’t going to make it. The Vikings are excited about what Antone Exum can do this year. He dropped to the 6th round last year because of a knee injury, but he’s healthy now and they say he’s looking really good. Very big and very fast.

  2. With Eric Kendricks pass coverage ability allowing him to stay on the field for 3 downs, Mays’ shot at playing time was shrinking. I wish him good luck and I’m sure his athletic ability will allow him to catch on somewhere.

  3. I’m not exactly sure what to make of this, although I do have a bit of a feeling…

    1. If he got cut for acting out or for some off-field incident about which we do not yet know, it wouldn’t tell me much. It would just be S.O.P.

    2. If he got cut because his play wasn’t up to the standard set by the coaches and/or other players, that would tell me they’re more interested in fielding the best team they can than bringing in “Zim’s guys.” I would see that as a very large positive (for the Vikings) as long as Spielman and Zimmer are on the same page about it.

    3. On the flip side of number 2, if Zimmer wanted to keep “his guy” and Spielman cut him anyways, that could cause things to get a bit testy.

    I really don’t think it would be number 3. I only added it for the sake of being complete. I’m going to have to go with number 2, unless and until we hear otherwise. Congratulations. It seems like a solid “football move” if you put a little thought into it.

  4. There really isn’t much thought necessary. The chances of Mays making the team were dubious at best. They’re cutting him loose early so he has a better chance of catching on with someone else and the other guys can get more reps.

  5. Well that signing bonus was a good thing.
    The vikings just weren’t creative on defense to make use of his talents.
    Makes one wonder why the vikings GM would have signed him in the first place.
    The vikings can absorb the dead cap space.

  6. Hopefully this was a move to open up a roster spot to sign Evan Mathis. Why would you not throw some cash at this guy, he’s an obvious upgrade to anyone currently on the roster.

  7. I remember the year he came out for the draft, he was supposedly going to revolutionize the position with his freaking size/speed combo. As it turns out, not so much.

  8. bobnelsonjr says:
    Jun 16, 2015 11:32 AM

    Well that signing bonus was a good thing.
    The vikings just weren’t creative on defense to make use of his talents.
    Makes one wonder why the vikings GM would have signed him in the first place.
    The vikings can absorb the dead cap space.

    The signing bonus was $25,000. I think they’ll be able to absorb that.

    Have the Packers never signed a player that they later cut?

  9. You have to admit that he must suck pretty bad if he can’t give Blanton and Sendejo a run for their money, given that the former stinks in run support while the latter stinks in pass coverage.

  10. bobnelsonjr says:
    Jun 16, 2015 11:32 AM

    Well that signing bonus was a good thing.
    The vikings just weren’t creative on defense to make use of his talents.
    Makes one wonder why the vikings GM would have signed him in the first place.
    The vikings can absorb the dead cap space.
    Apparently 31 other teams haven’t been creative enough to make use of his “talents” either. He was signed in March. The calendar tells me that was before the draft and before OTA’s. The Vikings had 89 guys. another 36 will have to be cut before the season starts as well. Instead of trying to be clever just to comment on a Vikings article, try to be thorough and more articulate.

  11. “Cabbage, do you really think that Zimmer would let Spielman cut a guy he wanted to keep? That’s a HELL NO!”

    Upon what do you base that opinion? Like I said, I think they most likely cut him in order to sign or keep better players, which is good. But if you think no GM ever cut a guy the head coach wanted to keep, or signed a guy the HC didn’t really want on the roster, I believe you to be hugely mistaken.

    Look at the mess in Philly before Kelly made his power play or the ungodly mess in San Francisco before Harbaugh left. I think there was all kinds of that nonsense going on in Minnesota with “the triangle of authority,” was there not? I really don’t remember. I just remember all kinds of craziness with players going to Favre’s house, or Chilly picking him up at the airport, or the latest Moss debacle.

  12. Zimmer gave him another shot but between Anthony Harris eventually getting healthy for training camp and the team really liking Exum now a full year healthy after his college injury and Prater trying to shift from corner to safety, just not enough reps for a guy who really doesn’t have as much upside to develop as the others. Seems like his time may be running out to live up to that 2nd round draft pick status.

  13. Mays can run like a gazelle, but if you put the two in a room with a math test, I’d put my money on the gazelle. How in the world did he pass classes at U$C?

  14. Big time packer stock holder chiming in once again! If he can field on side kicks he can take jordi Nelson spot on the kick returns!

  15. Exum is making progress and they like Harris. Zimmer has respect for Mays and gave him a chance to catch on somewhere. Let’s not overthink this one. Priefer can live without him.

    If the Vikes run at Mathis Zimmer and Rick think of hey are ready now. It will be a big surprise with all the players they have coming due the next 2-3 years. His Age only fits to win today.

  16. He had no shot to make the team so Zim did the classy thing an cut him now while there is still a chance to get picked up by another team before training camps start.

  17. would be an instant upgrade over the safety miss they have in green bay. their ‘super star’ rookie had 2 interceptions all year and can’t cover on a simple 2 point conversion with the super bowl on the line.

    interesting to see what this anthony harris kid can do if healthy.

    good luck selling insurance taylor

  18. Pete Carroll’s decision to take Earl Thomas over Taylor Mays was borderline genius…

  19. “cheeseisfattening says: He had no shot to make the team so Zim did the classy thing…”

    Coach Zimmer reminds me of my HS coach. No politics… no deals… no bull*… just a “Do it my way or you don’t play.” kinda attitude… simple as that. You KNEW what to expect from him and what he expected from you… and you felt guilt… shame even… when you didn’t live up to those expectations. For those of you who were fortunate to play for a coach like this… regardless of which team you now root for… you KNOW exactly what I’m talking about. For those of you who didn’t… I feel sorry that someone like this never touched your lives.

    I think people who don’t swear by the purple are beginning to understand that the Vikings finally have an heir-apparent to Bud Grant in Mike Zimmer… a coach who really knows how to coach and has a specific game plan in mind for HIS team.

    With middle of the pack players, Coach Zim is a force to be reckoned with. With young and talented players for him to nurture and groom… I feel sorry for their future opponents.

  20. Taylor Mays could easily replace the guy who played for the Packers in the NFC Championship game, where he could not jump to defend the ball from the receiver Wilson was throwing the ball to. What’s his name? Oh yeah, it’s Ha Ha Ha Ha Dick. LOL!!!

  21. Most definitely they are making room for Mathis. Zimmer and other Vikings coaching staff already have a relationship with the Pro Bowl Guard. With our high cap space, good chance he’ll be in purple next year.

  22. For those saying that he got cut because he can’t cover, did you ever watch the rest of the Viking’s secondary?

    I did, it was 35-0 by halftime.

  23. “teddy we trust”
    no antoine Exum didnt have a knee injury. The guy had Spinal surgery Halfway through College so it threw up some red flags for teams as it involved his back and neck. But he has played well since and will get stonger each year.

  24. He was old, Zimmer brought him in to teach up some guys, at very low cost to the team. He did the same thing last year with a former Bengel. I was surprised at the articles I read suggesting he’d actually get playing time.

    He was also picked up prior to the draft, his value diminished when we drafted defense 1st and 2nd round.

    Wouldn’t be surprised to see the Pack pick him up, they need SERIOUS help in their secondary.

  25. Note to Taylor — you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

    When even your old coach can’t be convinced, the jig is definitely up.

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