In their first signings of the 2023 offseason, the Minnesota Vikings have re-signed their two Exclusive Rights Free Agents.
The team has announced that they have re-signed defensive lineman Khyiris Tonga and offensive tackle Blake Brandel.
Brandel has spent his entire career with the Vikings after they drafted him in the sixth round of the 2020 NFL Draft. He worked his way up from the practice squad to being the team’s swing tackle and started three games at left tackle when Christian Darrisaw was dealing with concussion issues late in the season.
Tonga was signed off of the Atlanta Falcons’ practice squad in October. He played sparingly early on but eventually worked his way into being a big part of the Vikings’ defensive line rotation. Tonga was a seventh-round pick of the Chicago Bears in the 2021 NFL Draft but fell out of favor in Chicago after one season.
As Exclusive Rights Free Agents (ERFAs), Brandel and Tonga likely weren’t going to be anywhere else next season anyway. An ERFA is a player with fewer than two accrued seasons of experience and an expiring contract. If their original team extends them a qualifying offer (which can be as little as a one-year deal at the league minimum salary) they are unable to negotiate with any other teams.
Whether they were going anywhere or not, it’s good to see the Vikings bring Brandel and Tonga back. Both of them proved their value over the course of this past season and appear that they could be significant parts of this team going forward.