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Should I Stay Or Should I Go? Riley Reiff

Looking at upcoming roster decisions for some key personnel

Minnesota Vikings v Detroit Lions Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

DN you got to let me know...should I stay or should I go?

—The Clash (almost)

Hi gang, and happy Tuesday. Apologies for not getting this out yesterday, but the real job had me busy, and then I spent the evening with grandsons, so I put this on the backburner. Anyway, we continue with our SISOSIG series, and today, we switch things up a little bit. Every player we’ve talked about so far has been on defense, and if you’d like to check out the previous profiles you can check them out right here.

From Mac’s profile you can link to the other players we’ve looked at. Today, our subject is LT Riley Reiff

2020 Salary Cap (and dead money): 13.2 million ($4.4 million)

Should I Stay?

Since Reiff signed as a free agent in 2017, he’s been a mainstay on the Vikings offensive line, and solidified a position that was a mess for the better part of four seasons. Has Reiff played like a first ballot hall of famer, or an All Pro? No, but he’s been more good than bad in his time here, and he solved what had been a big problem on the Vikings line. His overall PFF grades (again, it’s a good baseline comparison, but not infallible) have been 64.1, 74.1, and 69.5 in his three years with the Vikings. No, it’s not great, but his play has been better than his predecessor, and league average is quite a step up from what had been occupying that spot prior to his arrival.

That said, it seems like many fans are ready to move on from him, though. Be it injury, a bit of inconsistency in allowing pressure last year, or just the general perception that the Vikings o-line is bad, so Reiff must be bad, a lot of folks seem ready to get a new left tackle. I like him, and I think he’s been a good player for the Vikings. If there’s a better option than Reiff right now, I don’t see it, and as long as he can stay healthy I think he remains the Vikings best bet for LT going in to 2020.

Should I Go?

There’s a funny series of commercials that are out now that has the tagline of ‘when just okay is not okay’, and I think that sums up Reiff for a lot of folks. And in their defense, when you look at his play, then look at his 2020 salary, well, maybe that tagline does apply after all. Yes, releasing him frees up almost $9 million in cap space, but now you’re looking at having to backfill the LT position, either in free agency, the draft, or by moving RT Brian O’Neill to LT. If you move O’Neill, now you have a hole to fill at RT, with no guarantee O’Neill is going to succeed at LT, potentially creating two problems on the line when you only had one. The only other tackles on the roster right now are Oli Udoh and Aviante Collins, and are either of those guys ready to step in and start? Maybe, maybe not. I would guess that Collins would get the first crack at it, since Udoh just finished his rookie season, but that’s just me.

There’s also been talk, once again, of moving Reiff to LG. I talked about that in a different post, and really don’t want to go into detail as to why I’m opposed to it; just click on this link and read it if you’re interested. The main point, though, is whether you move Reiff inside or cut him, you still need to fill the LT position.

Could the Vikings find a cheaper replacement for Reiff in free agency?

I don’t know that they could get a guy as good as Reiff for a cheaper contract on the market, but there is an intriguing option out there, though. Packers RT Bryan Bulaga looks like he’s going to hit the market, and Spotrac is giving him a market value projection of $10 million/yr, which is cheaper than what Reiff is going to make. But when you factor in the $9 million in cap space freed by cutting Reiff and compare it to the $10 million/yr you would project to give Bulaga, you’re actually losing a million bucks, assuming you can even sign him, and you’re still going to either move him or O’Neill to LT.

In addition, are we ready to embrace yet another former Packer?

If you don’t favor moving O’Neill or signing someone in free agency but still want a new left tackle, the only option left is the draft. I would argue that if that were the route, left tackle would have to be a top priority. That said, the defense is going to undergo some significant changes, as we’ve looked at throughout this series, particularly in the secondary. If the Vikes secondary is going to get as decimated as I think it will come the new league year, I don’t see how you can prioritize any position over CB, as the Vikings could lose all three of their top starters from last season.

So, should Riley Reiff stay, or go?


Should Riley Reiff stay or go?

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