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Vikings release safety Taylor Mays

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Not even three months after signing him as a free agent, the Vikings released safety Taylor Mays.

The team announced the move on Twitter Tuesday, ahead of the start of their mandatory mini camp.

Mays, 27, played with Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer while he was a defensive coordinator in Cincinnati. He signed a one-year deal with the Vikings in March, and was considered more of a depth signing with a small chance of earning a more significant role.

Pro Football Talk notes that Mays never really developed into a starting safety in the NFL, but he did perform well on special teams and as a hybrid linebacker in Zimmer’s schemes in Cincinnati. The sixth-year veteran played the past four season with the Bengals, and one before that with San Francisco.

The Bengals were trying to convince Mays to stay, while both St. Louis and Oakland were also pursuing him in free agency.

Minnesota has five safeties on the roster: Harrison Smith will start, but the spot next to him is more open.

Robert Blanton started 13 games alongside Smith last year, until Andrew Sendejo came in to start the final three contests. Then there's Antone Exum Jr., a rookie last year who played mostly special teams. The newcomer is Anthony Harris, an underafted rookie free agent from Virginia who played most of his senior season with a shoulder injury.

ESPN wondered last month if he and Exum Jr. could be dark horse candidates to play significant time this season.

The Vikings starts mandatory mini camp Tuesday. It runs through Thursday, and is the final stretch of offseason activities before 2015 training camp next month.

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