Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported yesterday that the Vikings have not yet made a decision on Nick Easton, who is a restricted free agent (RFA).
#Vikings have not made a decision yet on a tender regarding restricted free agent guard Nick Easton. Since he's a starter, would be a big surprise if he's not tendered. Made $615,000 last season. At least the lowest tender of $1.907 million is expected.— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) March 8, 2018
The Vikings have until March 14th to make Easton an offer, but the fact that the Vikings have yet to decide on what to do with Nick Easton triggers some speculation- at least for me.
Are the Vikings Looking to Go in Another Direction in Free Agency?
Easton’s deal would be a relatively small one at around $2 million on a one-year extension, and yet if the Vikings are looking to go another way in free agency, saving that $2 million would be important. It would be something of a surprise if the Vikings did not make Easton an offer, considering he was their starting left guard last season, and is also a backup at center. Easton missed several games last year due to injury, and was replaced first by Jeremiah Sirles, who the Vikings decided against making an RFA tender on already, and later by Mike Remmers in the playoffs after Easton fractured his ankle and went on IR.
But, if the Vikings are waiting to see if they can land another free agent when the tampering period opens on Monday, they may wait until the March 14th deadline to either make Easton an offer, or pass on it. Easton earned a 41.5 (poor) overall grade from PFF this past season, ranking him 58th of 77 guards ranked by PFF last year.
There are several possible free agents the Vikings could possibly pursue, either at guard or tackle, given that the Vikings could decide to move Mike Remmers inside to guard, or keep him at right tackle. The fact that they went with Remmers inside at left guard to replace Easton, while having Rashod Hill play right tackle during the playoffs, may be telling in terms of the Vikings plans for the future.
I’ll have another piece up shortly on some free agent possibilities for the Vikings along the offensive line, but for now the fact that the Vikings are waiting on doing something with Nick Easton is suggestive that they are looking to make a move in free agency.
Just what sort of move, if any, the Vikings may make to bolster their offensive line remains to be seen.