The Vikings released Wallace on Tuesday, parting ways with the receiver a year after they sent a fifth-round pick to the Miami Dolphins for him. The team had hoped Wallace would become a deep threat in Norv Turner's offense, but the 29-year-old caught just 39 passes for 473 yards and two touchdowns, as the team's downfield passing game never materialized.
By releasing Wallace, the Vikings will regain $11.5 million in cap space for 2016.
Wallace, who came to Minnesota after two disappointing years with the Dolphins, was a loyal soldier in Minnesota, even as he expressed private frustrations about his role in the offense. Protection problems contributed to the Vikings' inability to find the 2011 Pro Bowler on downfield throws, and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater missed Wallace on several deep shots, including a would-be touchdown on Nov. 1 in Chicago. Still, Wallace drew praise from general manager Rick Spielman and coach Mike Zimmer for his leadership, contributing to the development of rookie Stefon Diggs as the senior member of the Vikings' receiver group.
After the season, Zimmer expressed interest in having Wallace return.
"I would like him back. I love the kid, I love his heart," he said. "He didn't bitch one time about not getting the ball. He just went and worked every day and tried to get guys better. He loves it here, he loves Teddy. If it can get worked out, I'd like to have him back. But I want to do what's best for Mike Wallace, too. I told most of the players that are free agents that I want them to do what's best for them."
Wallace, who averaged 17.2 yards per catch during his first four seasons with the Steelers, hasn't eclipsed 13 yards a catch since.