The NFL is famous for its “Friday news dumps.” This Friday, the Vikings are going with the “Friday roster dump.”
On the heels of Joe Berger retiring and Tom Johnson signing with the Seahawks, the Carolina Panthers have announced that they have signed offensive lineman Jeremiah Sirles to a one-year deal. The Vikings had the option to pick up a $1.9 million tender for Sirles, who was a restricted free agent, but they opted not to.
It is believed that the Vikings were still trying to bring Sirles back, but he apparently liked his opportunity in Carolina more. With the departure of Andrew Norwell to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Panthers have an immediate need at left guard to be the meat in a Kalil sandwich. There is now an open competition in Carolina between center Ryan Kalil and Sirles’ old Vikings teammate, Matt Kalil. Of course, Matt won’t be the only familiar face for Sirles in Carolina. He’ll rejoin Jarius Wright, Captain Munnerlyn, and Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner in a team that is quickly becoming “Vikings South.”
The Vikings acquired Sirles in a trade with the Chargers just before the 2015 season. He played in 14 games in 2016, starting ten of them after a rash of injuries claimed most of the starters. Sirles started four games at left guard this past season after Nick Easton fractured his ankle.
While Sirles was largely a rotational player with the Vikings, the loss of him along with Berger is far from insignificant. In one day, the Vikings have lost offensive linemen that started 44 games over the past two seasons. Expect the Vikings to put a priority on adding more pieces to protect their $84 million investment in Kirk Cousins in both the draft and the remainder of free agency.