KFAN’s Paul Allen: Vikings Could Target LT Nate Solder if Team Doesn’t Land Cousins

Reinforcing depth in the trenches will be a priority for the Vikings this offseason

The Minnesota Vikings have money at their disposal this offseason. If the team does not pursue quarterback Kirk Cousins, what will the front office do with the extra dough?

Former Vikings center Matt Birk and the voice of the Minnesota Vikings, Paul Allen, suggested on KFAN radio Wednesday that the Vikings could consider signing left tackle Nate Solder in free agency. It certainly seemed like the two had differing opinions on bringing in the veteran.

“Nate Solder is a great, great left tackle when he’s protecting Tom Brady,” Birk stated. “When he’s protecting somebody else, it’s a different story.”

“But see, if you don’t move on Cousins, and you have money to fortify the rest of the team, pushing chips in on Solder and playing him at left tackle, putting Reiff at right tackle, and you got Elflein in the middle coming back from the bad ankle. That’s pretty nice no matter who the quarterback is,” Allen countered.

When Birk asked about what would happen to the current right tackle, Mike Remmers, Allen had an answer.

“I think Remmers is going to be a guard,” P.A. said. “I think the Remmers tell took place in the postseason when he was healthy and they paid him to be a right tackle, but Rashod Hill was the right tackle.”

The speculation is sure to continue until free agency begins March 14th.

Solder has been a New England Patriot since 2011. He’s started at left tackle every year minus his rookie season. The 29 year-old stands at 6-foot-8 and 315 pounds.

Spotrac projected Solder’s “market value” to hover around $13.2 million/season. For comparison, Riley Reiff, who signed a 5-year deal with the Vikings in free agency last offseason, averages $11.75 million/season.

If the Vikings land Solder in free agency, the 2018 starting front five could potentially consist of:

LT – Nate Solder – LG – Mike Remmers – C – Pat Elflein – RG – Nick Easton – RT – Riley Reiff

Depth players competing for a roster spot:
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Sean Borman

Sean Borman is a writer with Minnesota roots that's still somehow an optimist. He was an intern with the Vikings during college and previously wrote for Rant Sports. You can find Sean on the golf course and on Twitter @SeanBoarMan.

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  1. By all means, let’s all play musical chairs!

    Last pre-season, the chatter was about moving Reiff to RT (a move that didn’t work for Detroit in 2016), benching Remmers and starting Hill at LT. Then folks saw Hill play LT during the regular season, and the “plan” changed to…

    Start Hill at RT and move Remmers into LG in place of Easton, or RG when Berger retires. Hill’s pass-blocking at RT was okay – anyone know whether his PFF pass-blocking grade at RT was better than Remmers’? – but his run-blocking was not, and run-blocking has traditionally outweighed pass-blocking for right tackles. Meanwhile, Remmers seemed lost at LG but okay at RG.

    Before floating the Nate Solder idea, the dominant chatter this off-season has been to move Remmers into RG after Berger’s retirement and pick a RT in the first round of the draft. Why, I don’t know, since Remmers seems to be a perfectly acceptable if nowhere near elite RT, and had actually out-graded Reiff in PFF’s offensive tackle ratings.

    Now we have Paul Allen suggesting we sign Nate Solder to play LT, move Reiff to RT – I know the guy is supposed to be solid as a rock, character-wise, but has anyone asked him how he’d feel about the move in only the second year of his contract? – and someone (Sean?) suggesting we move Remmers to LG and Easton to RG, the complete revers of where they should be, since Remmers excels at run-blocking and Easton excels at pass-blocking. Well, at least Hill is back on the bench where he probably still belongs, at least this coming season.

    Is there any chance that we can actually play people where they were signed to play, and where they have played their best in the past? Reiff is not an elite LT, but he is a serviceable one whose weaknesses in pass-blocking can be schemed around. Remmers is not an elite RT, but he is more than solid enough. He reminds me of Tim Irwin, who was our starting RT for over a decade. Easton seems to have found a home at LG, or maybe he could switch back to center if his run-blocking continues to improve, but RG? That sounds like his weakest possible starting position.

    How about these ideas instead: This is reputed to be the best draft class of interior offensive linemen in years, decades maybe, so maybe we could look for a replacement for Berger there, and maybe someone to challenge Isidora, Sirles and the futures contract guys for their spots on the bench? Or, there’s a young All-Pro LG available in free agency, whose current team, a potential playoff competitor of ours, would have to play with their cap numbers to be able to re-sign him. There are some other guards available in free agency, too, although they generally have either injury concerns or only good but not outstanding resumes. And, just to show that I’m not completely immune to the whole musical chairs fever myself, we could actually see if one of them would be willing to play RG instead of LG for us, even if we paid them the more expensive LG rate. That might be worth it if we can keep Easton at LG and install, say, All-Pro LG Andrew Norwell, who’s also an excellent run-blocker at RG. Then we could leave Reiff and Remmers at the positions where we signed them to play and where they happen to have played their best football! Sheesh!!!

    1. When PA speaks on FA issues it makes some sense to listen as he’s had some stuff right in the past…but I agree with you CK. Both Reiff and Remmers exceeded my expectations in their planned on positions last year. With the money they have already invested with the two tackles, you continue to build this unit through the draft and it’s a good year to add another nice interior piece. Isadora started at RG for three straight years at Miami and with a full off-season of strength training, I am betting he’s going to be a tough man to beat out for the starting job this year. Easton’s injury history hasn’t been too great so they can’t ignore adding pieces to the group, but to me you need to add through the draft.
      If they are going to spend some money on a position other than QB this off-season, I’m looking at taking a flyer on Sheldon Richardson to give us the kind of 3-tech that would put the d-line over the top, or potentially another corner or athletic LB to add to the defense as our depth in those spots isn’t great at the moment.

      1. We need to develop young depth at cornerback, so I’d like to see a CB drafted on both Day 2 and Day 3. I’d only add a veteran CB if Newman does finally retire, and my first choice would be Tramaine Brock if Zimmer and Co. still like him and if, BIG if, we can still afford him. Brock no longer has either criminal charges or an NFL investigation hanging over his head, and he graded out in the mid-80’s at Pro Football Focus for both 2015 and 2016. He’s a legit CB2, even turning 30 a few weeks before the season starts. Yes, he didn’t play well this year, but you can say the same for a lot of veterans in their first year with the Vikings who then turned it up in year two.

        I’ve listed elsewhere the potential distractions and reclamation projects Zimmer has coached, but I think Richardson, given his locker room reputation, could be a bridge too far for Zim. I’m more inclined to re-sign Tom Johnson, or Shamar Stephen if TJ retires, and trust in the coaching and development of Jaleel Johnson. On the other hand, I wouldn’t mind signing or drafting a true run-stuffing DT to rotate with Joseph – it wasn’t pretty when he missed four games in 2015 – and looking for a 3-Tech in the draft.

        Barr and Kendricks both apparently played over 90% of our defensive snaps this season, so another athletic linebacker would be nice, although I also like having veteran depth there, so I wouldn’t be averse to re-signing Lamur or sifting through the FA ranks.

        1. Man, I’m excited to see what kind of depth the Vikings have after April’s Draft

      2. Zimmer said this year the Vikings defense is a couple pieces away from being “really good.” I’d love to see what that looks like.

    2. Right? Haha. Oh it was me that put Remmers at LG and Easton at RG. I really have no good reason for doing that… huh. Anyhow I see where PA is coming from. The Vikings clearly like Remmers at guard (for some reason). So, if they want to see him there, picking up a tackle makes the most sense. I’m kinda with you though. Both players were pretty solid at their respective positions so the team could opt to leave them on the outside and bolster the interior of the line, unless a great tackle falls in their lap.

  2. It’s a nice thought to take care of OL depth through free agency but I would expect Spielman considers himself in good shape to grab a really good guard or even tackle in the draft at 30 or even trading down. We already see with the addition of 2 OL from the Eagles practice squad, the Vikings are looking to continue to bolster their O-line. I’m just not sure Rick wants to do it by committing to more than $24 mil on Solder, Reiff and Remmers

    1. I think you’re right. Draft is deep with Guards this year so there’s not much reason to spend a ton of money in free agency when the team can get a rookie for cheap.

  3. Anybody watch the Vikings this year???? Our QB was not the issue! Doesn’t matter who we get. Zimmer’s soft play calling did not allow his players to play the game to win!!! Zimmer is not a playoff coach……….he coaches scared and timmid in the biggest games!!! Let’s attack the real problem of the purple!!!

    1. Ray, you must mean defensive plays because he didn’t call the offensive plays.

      I hear what you’re saying though. Personally, I thought Zimmer looked scared for some reason after the loss in Philly. He said after the game that he stuck with calls that had worked in the regular season but didn’t change them up for the Eagles.

      That doesn’t mean he’s not a playoff coach. In fact he’ll be back in the postseason soon enough. I think, for one, the loss at Philly was a learning experience for him, and two, it’s a reason the team went out and acquired innovative offensive mind John DeFilippo. He’ll give insight to Zimmer so the defense isn’t bull-rushed again like they were in the NFC Championship Game.

  4. Maybe write this note in reverse form….if vikings sign a free agent QB going to draft a OT….or if not sign Cousins take a QB in next draft….