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Vikes GM: Ayodele's release not tied to Saints' 'bounty' history

  • By NFL.com
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The transaction flew under the radar last week, buried beneath the news of the punishments levied against the principle players in the New Orleans Saints "bounty" scandal. But upon further review, the Minnesota Vikings' decision to release nose tackle Remi Ayodele on the same day as the Saints penalties raises a few eyebrows.

Ayodele was on the Saints during their 2009 Super Bowl season, and was the defender who crushed quarterback Brett Favre during that season's NFC Championship Game, the same game that Johnathan Vilma reportedly offered a $10,000 bounty to whoever knocked Favre out of the game.

Vikings general manager Rick Spielman, however, told 1500ESPN.com on Sunday that there were no outside motivators influencing Ayodele's release. It was strictly a football decision.

"That's something where we made a mistake," Spielman said, "and I'll put that on me making a mistake, as far as making sure that the players that we sign fit the scheme that we're trying to run."

Ayodele played in 15 games last season, recording 14 tackles and 1.5 sacks. While Ayodele's subpar play spurred the release in Spielman's mind, one current Viking said he'd have a problem sharing a locker room with Ayodele.

"(I)t would have been problematic," punter Chris Kluwe told the site last week, "because now all of a sudden, you're talking about a guy who -- now everyone on the team knows that he was part of a program that deliberately tried to injure guys. And not just guys on other teams. It happened to us, the Vikings, and it's just a really tough situation that I don't think the front office wanted any part of."

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