The Minnesota Vikings took a shot at upgrading their interior offensive line in free agency, but it appears that they’ve missed their target.
Sounds like Ryan Bates intends to sign an offer sheet from the #Bears. When he does, #Bills will have 5 days to match the contract. He also visited #Patriots and #Vikings. Bates is a restricted free agent.— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) March 24, 2022
Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune is reporting that offensive lineman Ryan Bates, who visited the Vikings earlier this week, will be singing an offer sheet with the Chicago Bears.
Bates is a restricted free agent who was given a low tender by the Bills, which means that the Bills have the opportunity to match any offer he might receive on the open market. As you can see from Biggs’ report, Bates visited with the New England Patriots as well as the Vikings and the Bears, and apparently believes that the Bears give him the best opportunity.
Bates made his first start at right guard in Week 16 this past season, and started both of the Bills’ playoff games at the position as well. He has appeared in 41 games in his NFL career.
Siging Bates would have, at the very least, given the Vikings some competition at the right guard spot. While Ezra Cleveland appears to have things locked down at left guard, the interior still has significant questions at center, where Garrett Bradbury has not developed as hoped, and right guard. The team will now have to look in a different direction to help fix those spots, whether it’s in the draft or later on in free agency.