From the opening gun of the 2017 league year (and also the first day of official free agency), the news was flowing thick and fast … unless you were a certain former Viking first-time free agent running back. Day one of free agency saw a run on offensive tackles, with almost any free agent who’d ever taken a snap at that position being offered incredibly lucrative deals. Tackle, of course is the single weakest position on the roster of the Minnesota Vikings entering the 2017 season, with one former starter at the position decisively choosing to move on from his rookie deal (Matt Kalil signed a less lucrative contract, at least by rumour, to join the Carolina Panthers, where his elder brother Ryan is the starting centre) and others (Jake Long, Andre Smith) no longer under contract.
Minnesota reportedly attempted to sign several other highly sought tackles, but ended up signing only former Detroit Lion Riley Reiff, who will probably be the new left tackle by default (other players under contract include T.J. Clemmings, Jeremiah Sirles, Rashod Hill, and left guard Alex Boone, who could kick outside to tackle if required). Reiff, who was selected in the first round of the same draft after Matt Kalil, can play either tackle position and graded out as an average-to-below-average player for Detroit over his career … which still means he represents an upgrade over the Vikings’ 2016 offensive tackles as a group.
Other former Viking free agents moved on to other teams, including tight end Rhett Ellison, who got a very nice deal from the Giants ($18 million over four years, with $8 million guaranteed), and punter Jeff Locke accepted an offer from the Indianapolis Colts (terms not yet disclosed).
Among the other Viking free agents whose names didn’t get mentioned today, Adrian Peterson clearly didn’t seem to get the kind of buzz he and his agent may have been expecting. Other running backs were busy announcing visits to various RB-needy teams, but no teams appeared to involve Peterson in their immediate plans.