The veteran tells Chris Tomasson his asthma is a concern prompting his decision to sit out. Ian Rapoport reports Pierce qualifies as high-risk, meaning he will receive a $350,000 stipend in lieu of his salary in 2020.
Pierce was Minnesota’s biggest free-agent acquisition this offseason, so this is a major blow to a transitioning Vikings defense.
He signed a three-year, $27 million deal this March, which will now be tolled to effectively start in 2021.
Pierce, 27, wound up signing on with the Ravens as an undrafted free agent out of Samford in 2016. He played out the final year of his three-year rookie contract before returning to the Ravens last offseason on a second-round restricted tender.
He was testing the open market as an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career when he signed a three-year, $27 million deal with the Vikings.
Pierce was slated to make a $3 million, fully-guaranteed base salary in 2020.
In 2019, Pierce appeared in 14 games and recorded 35 total tackles, two tackles for loss, 0.5 of a sack, and one fumble recovery. Pro Football Focus rated him as the No. 46 interior defender out of 119 qualifying players.