Vikings Rumors

Extra Points: Colts, Seahawks, Marshall, Jets, Vikings

Aside from Anthony Castonzo and Ryan Kelly, the Colts will deploy a retooled offensive line this season. They added some new parts by way of draft picks and free agents but are attempting an experiment at right tackle. Second-round guard Braden Smith has worked at right tackle this week, Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star notes.

This may spell trouble for Austin Howard’s chances of making the roster, with Keefer adding Indy brass is “clearly” not high on the veteran signing right now. The Colts are as of now slotting Matt Slauson at right guard, and with Smith previously serving as the free agent addition’s backup there, the team is trying him out on the outside — where less competition appears to exist.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Brandon Marshall’s played with more quarterbacks than most wide receivers of his caliber have, having now been on six teams. He’s not a lock to catch passes from Russell Wilson this season, but the 34-year-old wideout’s chances of making the Seahawks’ 53-man roster may be improving. Marshall and Wilson have developed a solid rapport over the past two weeks, Brady Henderson of ESPN.com writes. Marshall was only given $90K guaranteed and missed minicamp because of a hamstring injury, this coming after extensive rehab from ankle surgery. With Doug Baldwin out for the remainder of the preseason, Marshall’s seen plenty of reps with Seattle’s first-stringers, alongside Tyler Lockett and Jaron Brown, per Henderson.
  • The Jets will have to find a new ace contract negotiator. Jets director of football administration Jackie Davidson is leaving the franchise, Brian Costello of the New York Post reports (on Twitter). Davidson negotiated contracts for the Jets. However, the team looks to have a replacement lined up. David Socie is set to replace Davidson, Costello adds. Socie worked under previous Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum, per Costello (on Twitter), and also spent time at the league office.
  • One of the Vikings’ backups has encountered some off-the-field trouble. Anthony Barr’s reserve option, Antwione Williams, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor careless-driving charge, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. Williams was arrested in May in Edina, Minn., on suspicion of drunken driving. He spent last season on the Vikings’ practice squad and signed a reserve/futures deal in January.

Anthony Barr Wants To Stay With Vikings

Anthony Barr continues to wait on an extension after watching several teammates sign lucrative new deals, but that hasn’t changed his view of the organization. Barr says he “absolutely” wants to stay with the Vikings long term, as Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press writes. 

Barr will earn $12.3MM this season, per the terms of his fifth-year option. After that, the Vikings could theoretically retain him via the franchise tag, but the $16MM+ cost for linebackers would likely be prohibitive. Therefore, it will take a fresh deal in order for Barr to stay with the Vikings. A player in Barr’s position might wonder whether he’s being fairly valued since he doesn’t have that contract already, but the delay hasn’t caused any animosity.

The Vikings say they have no plans to trade Barr, but the status of their negotiations are unclear. The Vikings began talks with Barr this summer, but it’s anyone’s guess as to whether a deal will come together between now and the end of the season.

Barr, a 2014 first-round pick, had a career-high 75 tackles last year to go along with one sack and six passes defended.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/13/18

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Signed: DT Simeyon Robinson

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans 

Kansas City Chiefs

Minnesota Vikings

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Signed: C Oni Omoile
  • Waived/Injured: OL Parker Collins

Washington Redskins

  • Signed: WR Dan Williams III

Compton Top Choice To Replace Easton

  • Nick Easton‘s season-ending injury now has the Vikings down three starters, with Pat Elflein still on the PUP list and Mike Remmers also sidelined. Tom Compton is the favorite to fill in for Easton at left guard, and ESPN.com’s Courtney Cronin notes the Vikings were eyeing the former Redskins and Bears blocker in the past prior to signing him this offseason. Compton, though, has only made 16 starts in six seasons. The Vikings are likely to keep Compton at guard rather than have him also work at tackle, Mike Zimmer said. Second-year man Danny Isidora looks to the the top insurance option at the other guard spot in case Remmers, down with an ankle injury presently, doesn’t return soon, per Cronin. A fourth-year UDFA out of Portland State, Cornelius Edison is currently working as Minnesota’s first-team center in Elflein’s absence.

Kendall Wright A Likely Inactive

  • While Godwin looks to be in line for an expanded role, the same can’t be said for Vikings free agent acquisition Kendall Wright. Because Wright, who signed a one-year deal with Minnesota after spending the 2017 season in Chicago, doesn’t play special teams, he’s shaping up as a weekly inactive, tweets Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Wright, 28, posted 58 receptions in a poor Bears passing offense a year ago, and had been expected to see time as the Vikings’ slot receiver. Instead, other options such as Laquon Treadwell, Tavarres King, or Brandon Zylstra may see more action.

Vikings Asked Joe Berger To Unretire

In need of a guard after Nick Easton‘s neck surgery, the Vikings reached out to retired lineman Joe Berger to see if he would be willing to come out of retirement, a source tells Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press (on Twitter). However, Berger informed the team that he plans to stay retired. 

[RELATED: Vikings’ Nick Easton Likely Done For Season]

Berger, 36, didn’t hang up his cleats due to lack of interest. Both the Vikings and the Lions had standing offers out to Berger this spring, while at least two other unidentified clubs may have also been involved in talks. However, we heard all throughout 2017 that Berger was expected to retire after the season, and he ultimately followed through on his plan.

A former sixth-round pick, Berger started at least ten games only one time during the first decade of his career before signing with Minnesota in 2015. Berger then became a fixture on the Vikings’ front five, starting 46 games over the next three campaigns. Capable of playing both center and guard, Berger was still effective in 2017, as Pro Football Focus graded him as the NFL’s No. 23 guard among 77 qualifiers.

The Vikings would have loved to get another season out of Berger, but he’ll move on to other endeavors instead. And, with that, the Vikings will have to move on in their search for interior line help.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Vikings' HC On Signing A Guard

  • On Wednesday, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said the club would be open to exploring the free agent guard market for depth purposes. “We’re looking at all free agent areas, really,” Zimmer said (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Courtney Cronin). “That’s what those guys do at night. They come in here and watch — heck they watch other teams, they watch guys on the street. So yeah.” After learning that Nick Easton will likely miss the entire 2018 season with a neck injury, it seems likely that the Vikings will explore outside help for the interior line.

Vikings Place Nick Easton On IR

Vikings guard Nick Easton done for the season after undergoing surgery to correct a herniated disc in his neck, agent Joe Linta tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Fortunately, it is not expected to be a career-ending injury. After Schefter’s report, the Vikings confirmed that Easton will head to IR.

Easton was retained this year via a one-year, $2.9MM restricted free agent tender. He was hoping to sign a long-term extension with the Vikings, but his malady will keep that from happening this year.

Easton, a Harvard product, has appeared in 23 games with 17 starts. Although he has seen time at center, left guard, and right guard, he was slated to be the team’s top LG in 2018. Easton didn’t fare all that well according to the advanced metrics, but the Vikings had enough confidence to put him in that starting role.

Without Easton, the Vikings may turn to Tom Compton, Danny Isidora, or sixth-round pick Colby Gossett to fill the void.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Vikings Deny Interest In Richie Incognito

In a recent appearance on TMZ Sports, free agent offensive lineman Richie Incognito said that he has received interest from the Vikings and Seahawks. However, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer says his team has “no interest” in signing Incognito and any report indicating that the Vikings have reached out to him is “totally false,” (Twitter link via Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press). 

I’m mulling all options right now,” Incognito told TMZ (video link). “I’ve had calls from Minnesota, Seattle, I really just don’t want to go to training camp, so we’ll see.”

It’s easy to believe Zimmer’s side of the story given Incognito’s bizarre offseason. Earlier this year, Florida police placed Incognito in a mental hospital after he hurled weights at a gym and told officers that the government is spying on him.

On the field, Incognito has been nothing short of stellar in recent years. The veteran has earned three consecutive Pro Bowl trips and, from a talent perspective, profiles as the best interior lineman on the open market today. But, between his antics in May and the Dolphins bullying scandal of 2013, it’s not clear whether he’ll be given another opportunity in the NFL.

Incognito, 35, appears interested in continuing his career, but also indicated to TMZ that he could pursue a career in politics.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.