The Vikings have placed linebacker Casey Matthews on injured reserve, the club announced. Matthews is dealing with a hip injury, one that head coach Mike Zimmer said occurred during the team’s offseason program, according to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Matthews, 26, agreed to a one-year, minimum salary benefit deal with the Vikings earlier this offseason. After starting 11 games for the Eagles in 2014, Matthews looked like a legitimate option to compete with Audie Cole for Minnesota’s starting middle linebacker position. Once the Vikings selected UCLA’s Eric Kendricks in the second round of this year’s draft, however, Matthews’ route to playing time dissipated, and I listed him among the NFC North release candidates.
Depending on the nature of Matthews’ injury, it’s conceivable that he could still see the field this season. As Luke Adams explained in a PFR Glossary entry last year, players who are put on IR in the preseason — but who haven’t suffered season-ending injuries — are often released with a settlement. The club and the player come to an agreement on how long the injury will put the player out of commission, and the player is compensated for that length of time. It’s unlikely that Matthews will return to Minnesota however, as any club that releases a player off IR must wait six weeks on top of the initial diagnosis to re-sign him.