There is legitimate concern among Vikings fans regarding the state of the offensive line going into OTA’s this week. The Vikings did not draft an offensive lineman in the first round of this year’s draft and the lineman they drafted in the second round is lean and needs to add strength and as a result, may not be ready to start at the beginning of this season.
Enter Richie Incognito. After deciding to retire earlier in the offseason, Incognito has reversed course and decided to give it a go for 2018 and on Monday, the Buffalo Bills released Incognito from their reserve/retired list, making him a free agent.
The Vikings still need starting caliber depth on the offensive line and OL coach Tony Sparano has a history with Incognito from their days in Miami. It would make sense for them to take a look at a player like Incognito but with his baggage, is it worth it?
A Pro-Bowler in three of his seasons with Buffalo, Incognito will be remembered by most for his part in the bizarre 2013 bullying scandal in Miami with then teammate Jonathan Martin. He missed the entire 2014 season after the fallout and signed with Buffalo in 2015, where he has been starting, getting along with teammates and playing well ever since.
Also, at the time of his “retirement”, Incognito was being investigated by the NFL for using a racial slur in the Bill’s playoff game. The accusation coming via an instagram post by Jacksonville defensive lineman Yannick Ngakoue.
Instead of asking if Incognito is worth it, maybe a better question to ask is can the offensive lineman currently on this roster play well enough to allow the team to reach their lofty goals? At this point it seems possible but unlikely. He is no choirboy but Richie Incognito might be better than the options the Vikings will find off of the training camp cut scrap heap. At 34 years old, he will only be looking for a one-year deal and the team could cut him lose during camp if it isn’t working out, personality wise.
The Vikings have not shied away from signing players with character concerns the past few years. Their coaching staff should know more about this player’s issues than most and we will learn a lot from their interest, or lack there of, in Incognito.