Due to a situation outside of his control at the end of the year, Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Riley Reiff missed out on a significant chunk of change. On Thursday, the team made a move to set things right.
The team announced that Reiff’s deal had been restructured, allowing him to collect a $1 million bonus that he missed out on by spending the season finale on the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list.
When Reiff restructured his deal to facilitate the ill-fated trade for Yannick Ngakoue, he had incentives written into his contract for bonuses based on the percentage of team snaps he played. He was slated to earn $1 million if he played at least 86% of the team’s snaps and another $1 million if that number was above 93.75%.
Because Reiff sat out the season finale and the Vikings ran enough plays in their victory over Reiff’s former team, the Detroit Lions, his percentage of snaps played dropped below that 93.75% threshold. The restructure allowed him to collect that $1 million because he would have reached it had it not been for his COVID-19 situation.
As Will Ragatz of Sports Illustrated notes, this could be the first step towards Reiff being extended. He is coming off of (arguably) the best season of his career and, as things stand right now, has the fourth-largest cap hit on the team at nearly $14 million. Only Kirk Cousins, Danielle Hunter, and Anthony Barr take up a larger percentage of the team’s salary cap than Reiff is set to in 2021.
We know that the Vikings drafted Ezra Cleveland last April, ostensibly to take over at left tackle for Reiff when the team would be forced to cut him. But Cleveland acquitted himself fairly well at right guard last season, and while Reiff isn’t the sexiest name available to man the blind side for the Vikings, he’s certainly not a liability by any stretch, either.
Obviously, we don’t know at this point whether or not the Vikings have real designs on bringing Riley Reiff back for 2021 or if his time in purple is over with. However, what we saw on Thursday could very well be a goodwill gesture to help facilitate a return to the Vikings for their starter at left tackle.