Minnesota Vikings release DT Michael Pierce after only 8 games

The Minnesota Vikings released veteran defensive tackle Michael Pierce on Tuesday, ending a disappointing tenure in which he played only eight games over two seasons. The move seemed inevitable after the team agreed to terms with free agent Harrison Phillips earlier this week.

Pierce signed a three-year, $27 million contract with the Vikings in March 2020 but opted out of the season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He returned in 2021 but missed nine games because of triceps and elbow injuries. In the eight games he did play, all starts, he recorded 20 tackles, three sacks and one forced fumble.

The Vikings needed to decide on Pierce's future this week. His $7.9 million base salary was set to become fully guaranteed on the third day of the new league year.