As NFL Free Agency opened last week, players started flying off the shelf at a near record pace. The Minnesota Vikings signed DT Shamar Stephen and re-signed LB Anthony Barr, but have been pretty quiet ever since. It was presumed the Vikings would try to create some cap space to acquire an offensive lineman or two, but the Vikings have not made any more moves.
Nick Easton signed with New Orleans, Tom Compton hasn’t been re-signed, and the Vikes cut Mike Remmers, who signed with the Giants. As of right now, there is only one guard on the Vikings official roster, Danny Isidora, and the front office has made no moves to address a tight salary cap situation, which means right now the Vikings couldn’t sign someone even if they wanted to.
As it turns out, the ‘no offensive lineman’ strategy was a deliberate plan employed by the Vikings, as crazy as it sounds. After speaking with people familiar with the situation, the Vikings have been the only team to get a copy of the new rule changes for 2019. The big one that is going to shock teams and fans alike is that the NFL will be transitioning from full on tackle football to a 7 on 7 passing drill format.
‘Look, it’s not our fault we got this memo before everyone else’, said a Vikings official familiar with the situation. ‘The NFL is now a passing league, and they’re concerned about player safety, so this is the next logical step. After the league decided tackling quarterbacks was bad, this just makes the most sense. I mean, if you can’t tackle the QB, why have an offensive line?’
‘The Titans are gonna shit themselves over that (Roger) Saffold contract’, said a second source also familiar with the current situation.
However, there is still a need for defensive linemen.
‘Oh yeah, we’ll still have a couple d-linemen, so it’s kind of a modified 7 on 7’, said a third Vikings official, who would only agree to speak on a condition of anonymity. ‘More like a 9 on 9. Two defensive linemen will stand on either side of the center, and there will be a new referee called the ‘Mississippi’ judge. At the snap, he will loudly yell ‘ONE MISSISSIPPI, TWO MISSISSIPPI, THREE MISSISSIPPI’ and the defensive linemen will be able to rush the QB. They can either bat down a thrown ball, or if they two hand tap him between the neck and waist before he throws the ball, it’s ruled a sack. And we’ll still have two tackles lined up where they would normally be. The two defenders cannot touch the tackles, and they must stay between them at the snap of the ball. Any defensive player that goes to the outside of the tackle that is standing still will be penalized 15 yards for unabated to the quarterback. We call that the ‘Matt Kalil’ rule.
In an effort to keep the QB as safe as possible, there is another wrinkle to the new sack rule. A two hand tap in the ‘junk’ area is considered a roughing the passer penalty, and the offense will be awarded a touchdown. The first violation will result in a warning to the defensive player, and a second will result in an ejection. If a player is called for a junk violation three times in the course of a season, he will be referred to the local police for possible assault charges.
‘So let the Saints sign Nick Easton’, continued one VIkings official. ‘Loomis just signed a guy for $24 million bucks he’s not even gonna need anymore. We got (Danny) Isidora and (Pat) Elf(lein), man. We’re better than good.’
When asked about acquiring another wide receiver or kicker, no Vikings officials would comment.