Another one bites the dust.
The Vikings have made retaining their "big uglies" a priority during free agency. They have already locked down starting right tackle Phil Loadholt, backup lineman Joe Berger, and Pro Bowl fullback Jerome Felton. But apparently you can't win 'em all.
Geoff Schwartz tweeted on Friday afternoon that he is heading to the Kansas City Chiefs:
Excited to officially be a new member of the @kcchiefs!— Geoff Schwartz (@GeoffSchwartz76) March 15, 2013
The move isn't much of a surprise--Schwartz had been pegged to depart after his one-year contract since the offseason began. In fact, I searched for Geoff Schwartz in SB Nation's extensive photo database and didn't even get a result, which is why you're getting the generic picture attached to this story. But don't dismiss this as a meaningless departure of a backup lineman that played only 13 games in Minnesota. Some experts think that Schwartz should have seen a lot more playing time last year. We recapped Pro Football Focus' breakdown of offensive lines in late January. You might remember that they thought Schwartz was a significant improvement over starting right guard Brandon Fusco. Here is their summary of the Vikings offensive line:
The only criticism of this line is that Geoff Schwartz didn't get nearly enough playing time. That aside, what more could you want from this line? They kept their quarterback upright, and in Sullivan and Phil Loadholt they have two of the most punishing run blockers in the league at their positions. Trending upwards, with rookie left tackle Matt Kalil being exactly as advertised.
They also listed Fusco as their "dud" of the line with a -11.8 rating (a zero rating is average). But I can understand why the team stuck with Fusco. First of all, I don't think the difference was as drastic as PFF makes it sound. If Schwartz was that much of an upgrade, the coaches would have had no choice but to start him. However, I think Fusco did have a built-in advantage: the Vikings drafted him. Fusco is a Rick Spielman draft pick, and we've seen that Spielman does everything he can to make sure his draftees succeed. (See also: Ponder, Christian.) If the competition was close like it was between Schwartz and Fusco, the draftee was going to win out over the free agent.
Does the departure of Schwartz drastically change the dynamic of the Vikings? No. But Minnesota did lose some valuable depth in their offensive line while Kansas City just picked up someone that can help them right away.
Best of luck to Schwartz in KC. I'll miss (most of) his activity on Twitter too.