What problems did Minnesota Vikings offensive line free agency moves solve over the weekend? Was what we gained worth what we spent? It has been said that to a large extent offensive linemen were overpaid this year in free agency. The Vikings had to fill in some gaps, though. Here is how it all shook out.
Minnesota Vikings Free Agency and the Offensive Line
Day 1: Riley Reiff
Previous Team: Detroit Lions
Contract: Five year/$58.8 million with $26.3 million guaranteed
Typically a good running game blocker, Riley Reiff had what was arguably the worst season of his career in 2016. While he is better at tackle than Minnesota’s other options, his pass defense is the weakest part of his game. He is going to have to step that up if Sam Bradford is going to get the protection he needs this season.
The Vikings paid a huge price to grab one of the top available tackles, but his career is trending the wrong direction: downward. We can hope he returns to the stats he posted early in his career under Pat Shurmur and offensive line coach Tony Sparano.
Day 2: Mike Remmers
Previous Team: Tampa Bay (one year), San Diego (two years), and Carolina Panthers (three years)
Contract: Foyr year/$23.35 million with $10.5 million guaranteed
Mike Remmers may long be remembered as the guy Von Miller ate up in the Super Bowl, believed by many fans to be the single most significant contributor to a Carolina loss. He was put in a tough spot, playing left tackle when he was used to playing right. Overall, his average stats are pretty solid, and he is the kind of rough tackle the Vikings like: not the quickest out of the blocks, but a solid force where they need one.
His acquisition also, of course, indicates that Reiff will be playing at left tackle, and the two could form a formidable pair. The thing both players have going for them: neither of them has suffered any major injuries resulting in missed games.
Some fans and pundits think Remmers is overrated, and his best play really came in 2015, but the hope is that he will settle in with the Vikings and his game will improve throughout the season.
This year was a good one for offensive linemen. Good ones seem to be in short supply, and teams paid good money to get the best they could afford. Both contracts were structured well enough that they left the Vikings room in the salary cap, even though they were expensive. The season will tell if they made the right moves.