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Vikings release Datone Jones from injured reserve

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The former Packer is a free agent once again, but a return to Green Bay seems unlikely given the Packers’ recent acquisitions.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Buffalo Bills Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

A former Green Bay Packers player is on the move on this Friday afternoon, just a few days before the season opener. ESPN’s Field Yates is reporting that Datone Jones, who signed with the Minnesota Vikings as an unrestricted free agent this spring but who was placed on injured reserve recently, has been released by the team.

This release presumably involves an injury settlement, which would clear a portion of his salary off the Vikings’ books for 2017 while giving Jones the opportunity to sign with another team and play later on this season if he returns to health. The official reason for Jones’ placement on injured reserve was a shoulder injury.

Jones signed a one-year deal this March that was worth a total of $3.75 million and carried a $1.6 million signing bonus. That bonus, and likely Jones’ $150,000 in workout bonuses, will remain on the Vikings’ cap for this season. In addition, any injury settlement money would also count.

This cut comes just prior to the week one game, and the NFL’s CBA states that veteran players on the roster for week one of the regular season have their base salaries guaranteed. However, because Jones was on injured reserve instead of the 53-man roster, that provision would not have applied to him. Still, if he had been on IR all season, his base salary likely would have still been paid out anyway, making this a cost-saving move for the Vikings.

Jones played defensive end and outside linebacker for the Packers during his first four years in the NFL, but was playing primarily 4-3 defensive tackle for the Vikings this summer.

If this move had happened two weeks ago, it would not have been a shock to see the Green Bay Packers bring Jones back in for a visit and potentially sign him. However, given the team’s recent additions on the front seven — former 49ers edge rusher Ahmad Brooks and defensive lineman Quinton Dial, plus rookie edge rusher Chris Odom — there does not appear to be a need for Jones’ services at the present time. Still, if the Packers see their front seven hit by injury at some point this season and if Jones is healthy, a return engagement with Jones would make sense.