Around the Horns: Carlson ponders future

December, 20, 2013
12/20/13
8:00
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Welcome to Around the Horns, our daily look at what's happening on the Vikings beat:

Minnesota Vikings tight end John Carlson had been cleared earlier this week to return from the concussion he suffered on Dec. 8 in Baltimore, until the team said he was feeling ill on Thursday. Carlson is dealing with recurring post-concussion symptoms, and will have to once again clear part of the NFL's concussion protocol before getting back on the field.

The setback is just the latest step in a delicate dance for Carlson. He's had three concussions since 2011, and reportedly had two others in college. His long history of concussions has Carlson wondering when the time will come to hang it up, according to Chip Scoggins of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

"We have two kids and a third one on the way,” Carlson told Scoggins. “I’m taking steps to mitigate the risks. [But] there are risks to playing football.”

The Litchfield, Minn., native is one of the more intelligent and conscientious players on the Vikings' roster, and Carlson, who took a pay cut in the second year of a five-year, $25 million deal, has made enough money in the NFL that he could retire comfortably at the age of 29. But as many players do, Carlson has to find the balance between playing a game he loves and quitting before it's too late. I've had several conversations with him about the issue of concussions in the game, and he's paid keen attention to the NFL's efforts to make the game safer. But he also knows the game probably isn't going to be safe, at least not overnight, so the risk of continuing his career is something he'll have to measure.

Here are today's other Vikings stories of note:

Ben Goessling

ESPN Minnesota Vikings reporter

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