If fans want to see the biggest free agent acquisition that the Minnesota Vikings made during the 2020 offseason, they’re going to have to wait until 2021.
Word has just come down that nose tackle Michael Pierce has elected to opt out of the 2020 NFL season per the COVID-19 rules that the league set forth. Because he has asthma, Pierce is considered a “high-risk” opt out, and will receive a $350,000 stipend for opting out of the season.
The Vikings signed Pierce to a three-year, $27 million deal this offseason, with the intention of having him replace Linval Joseph in the middle of the defensive line.
To be designated a voluntary opt-out, a player must be under contract or subject to a tender. The player’s contract will toll and all provisions of that contract for the tolled year will be applicable the following season; however, he will not receive an accrued season. The player will be eligible for a stipend of $150,000 to be treated as a salary advance against his tolled contract; an undrafted free agent, however, is not eligible for the stipend.
The opt outs are irrevocable, so now that Pierce has declared that he is opting out of the season, he is not eligible to come back at all this year. From a contract standpoint, Pierce’s contract appears to now start with the 2021 season, meaning that he will be signed with the Vikings through the 2023 season.
Obviously, this is a huge loss for the Vikings’ defense, as Pierce was expected to help shore up the run defense with the team not bringing Joseph back.
If more players opt out, we will obviously bring you news of that here.