Transaction

Report: Nick Easton To Sign Second-Round Tender

The Vikings starting left guard will officially return in 2018.

Offensive lineman Nick Easton will sign his second-round tender. According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, Easton will sign the offer and report to Minnesota’s offseason workout program Monday. The Vikings placed the tender on Easton in March. He will earn $2.914 million in 2018.

A restricted free agent after the 2017 season, the Vikings placed the second-round tender on Easton and retained the right to match any contract offered by another team. A new team would have had to forfeit a second-round pick to land the versatile lineman. Minnesota did not retain its other two restricted free agents, offensive lineman Jeremiah Sirles and running back Bishop Sankey.

The 25 year-old was originally signed by the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 2015. Easton was then traded to the San Francisco 49ers for a conditional seventh-round pick. Shortly thereafter he was acquired by the Vikings in a trade with the 49ers. In the trade, Gerald Hodges was sent to San Francisco in exchange for Easton and a 6th-round pick.

Easton, a Harvard graduate, made his first career start in place of Joe Berger in Week 13 of the 2016 season. He remained a starter for the rest of the year.

Before the 2017 season Easton was moved to LG after Alex Boone was cut. He started 12 games, 11 at left guard and one at center. He was flagged for seven penalties and received a Pro Football Focus grade (of 41.5), but he played well overall, allowing zero sacks in the time he played.

His season was cut short due to a broken ankle suffered in Week 16 at Green Bay. Despite the injury, he’s expected to be ready for spring drills, which commence today.

With the re-signing of Easton, the Vikings will return four of five starters on the offensive line. Left tackle Riley Reiff, Easton, center Pat Elflein, and right tackle Mike Remmers are now under contract. Right guard Joe Berger retired from the NFL this offseason.

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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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13 Comments

  1. So, we are thin as paper on the offensive line. If have hope two of our first three picks will address this problem, and provide some competition in the later rounds. If think we need a top notch corner also. We also have the ability to sign players cut by other teams. That problem is cuts have been moved to later to allow teams more time with the players. This makes working out and acquiring players tough and getting them acclimated into your system tougher.

    1. I’m not sure it’s anything to worry about. The Vikings lost Berger and Sirles but gained Compton. 4/5 starters return with Rashod Hill, Aviante Collins, Danny Isidora, Josh Andrews making up depth. Add one or two draft picks and like you said, a potential cut lineman, and all of a sudden it’s a fairly deep group.

      1. I don’t think we’re “paper thin” and certainly won’t be after the draft, but starting RG is looking awfully shaky right now, with Compton (who replaces Sirles, NOT Berger), Isidora and Remmers the leading contenders at the moment but likely to be bumped aside by a rookie or Elflein sliding over for a rookie. I wanted us to sign Norwell before we signed Cousins and Richardsonm or at least re-sign Berger, but with the former signed elsewhere and the latter retired, I’d be happy with bringing in Jahri Evans to compete for the job. He’s got 12 years of starting experience and if his run-blocking has faded, I believe PFF still graded him positively for his pass-blocking last year, and that’s my main concern, keeping the 84 million dollar man upright and without defensive tackles in his grill. Let Evans serve as the one- or two-year bridge for Ragnow or Price, Daniels or Hernandez, or even Wynn if the Gods are kind, with him on one side of the center and Easton on the other, allowing Cousins to step up when the speed guys get around Reiff and Remmers on the edge. Evans AND a top-of-the-class guard or center, that’s the ticket!

        1. I’ve always been a fan of Evans. Hated watching him go to Green Bay last season. He had a $2.425 million cap hit last year, so I don’t see the Vikings going that route (with wanting to extend players), but I wouldn’t be opposed to the move whatsoever.

        2. Sure sounds good to me cha2nd ~ I think adding a speed TE would be a huge plus with Rudolph in what I believe is the last year of his contract ~ That would give a rookie a year to learn from and watch Rudolph when he is healthy ~ As a Viking fan I love Rudolph when they he is healthy ~ But like Diggs he has a long injury history that has caused both to either miss games or play at far less than 100% ~ Rudolph play was telling over the last 4 games and the playoffs with that ankle injury ~ And while I really like what I have seen from Morgan so far he is not the receiver Rudolph is ~ I wouldn’t be upset if they drafted a TE in the first two rounds as long as he rated as the BPA on their draft board ~

          In the end, I will trust Spielman and Zimmer to get it right on draft night ~ One thing is for sure they are sure to PI$$ some off no matter what they do ~ LOL

          1. Gordon, Rudolph’s contract runs through 2019, but there’s zero dead cap money that year, so the team could cut him after 2018 with no penalty. His dead cap space this year is relatively low at $1.3 million, but I don’t think anyone is expecting the Vikes to take that gamble this year.

            Sean, I think going into the season with a rookie, Compton, Hill or Isidora set to compete to start at either RG or RT is penny wise and pound foolish, and Berger should have been looking at $2.5 million this year, anyway. If anyone should have fired his agent, Berger should have, as criminally underpaid as he was the last few years.

  2. Easton is a good player for us. My concern is how his ankle will hold up going forward (and Elfleins ankle for that matter). That said, O-line obviously needs to be addressed, unless several of: Isidora, Aviante Collins, Josh Andrews, Cornelius Edison, Tom Compton, Cedrick Lang, Tom Compton, Storm Norton, Rashod Hill, and Dieugot Joseph can make significant strides this offseason, and become solid starter/reserve quality players. Maybe some of them will become good players, but we will still likely draft a Guard or Tackle in one of the first 2 rounds. I love this team. So glad Phase 1 is under way! LETS GOOOOOO!!!!! SKOL

    1. I with you Robert. There’s A LOT to like about this team on paper and it’ll get even better after the draft.

      I’m ready to see who will step up out of that group you mentioned. There’s some talent there.

      1. Sean I wouldn’t be shocked if Remmers is the right OG with Hill and Compton fighting out for right OT ~ Or is Remmers is the right OT with Compton and Isidora and others fighting it out at right OG ~ Plus they have said they have very high hopes for Collins ~ Plus DeFilippo signed off on bring in Josh Andrews in and Cousins put in a good word for Tom Compton ~ So these are two player that should be no worse than good backups ~

        I’m not as worried about depth as much as I am one sure fire starting right OG or OT if Remmers move over ~ I trust the Vikings if they say they have that 5th player on the roster now ~ But as a Viking fan I want to know who he is NOW ~ LOL ~

        I look for a OG at #30 or a Center\OG in the second to add to the fight ~ However as I have said in the pass I wouldn’t be upset if the Vikings drafted two OG in the first two round if they rated as the BPA ~ I love Easton for the fact he was undrafted or drafted very late ((( old age affects my memory sometime LOL ))) and he played so well for a first year starter ~ But if the BPA in the first two round both played OG and one of them beat out Easton I would be all for it ~ I’m a team fan first ~ I’m all for improving the OL or any other position ~

        Zimmer has his #1 defense returning intact if they can resign Newman ~ I have said all offseason I hoped this would be a draft for the offense ~ But only if the players ranked as the BPA ~ If it happens the BPA plays defense I’m fine with that also ~ Hopefully they can resign Newman for one more year as a depth player ~ I believe Spielman was telling the truth when he said that the team was still in fine cap shape after sign Cousins~Richardson~Wright along with the backup OL and that cap room is there if they want to make it work to also sign Barr and Hunter ~ I believe Diggs is a worry for 2019 ~ Maybe 2018 will be the first year he shows he can play in every game for the first time in 6 or 7 years ((( including college ))) ~ Oh and as a fan I love Diggs ~ But I still call out his injures because he can almost affect the games as much as Kirk cause if he isn’t getting open than teams can keep Thielen ib check and the same could be said if Thielen missed games ~ That why I believe they went out and signed K. Wright who can not only play very well in the slot nut also outside if needed ~ And hopefully Kirk can find some magical way to make Treadwell look good ~ sigh ~ Sad Face 🙁 ~ The Vikings were lucky they had McKinnon and Murray when Cook got hurt or the Vikings might have been lucky to win the NFC North even without Rogers ~

  3. Really, Easton didn’t even beat out Boone for the LG job. He spent the 2016 pre-season competing with Elflein for the Center job, ultimately losing out to the rookie, but had obviously impressed the coaches enough that when they decided to move on from Boone – for both scheme-fit and locker room-fit reasons, it seemed – they just cut Boone kind of out of the blue and slid Easton over. If Easton can bring his run-blocking up to the level of his pass-blocking – I know PFF had him as the first- or second-best pass blocking guard at some point last season, Sean, but do you know what his final grades were, not just overall but run- and pass-blocking, specifically? – I think he will establish himself as THE starting LG and earn himself a long-term extension after 2019. IF he can bring his run-blocking up to par.

    1. Good point – you’re right. I updated that portion of the post. I don’t have access to that info on Easton at the moment but I do know he improved at run blocking as the season progressed.

  4. Yeah cka2nd can vouch for on this Sean ~ I’ve been a big Easton fanboy sense he played so well when had to replace Berger at Center in 20116 due to a injury~ I have high hopes for the young man who went undrafted or any underdog like him when they step in and play very well ~ I thought he was a improvement over Boone based off of what I saw with my eye ~ I read somewhere ((( maybe vikings.com ))) where Zimmer and his staff felt Easton was a big improvement with the blocking scheme they had moved too in Pat offensive scheme ~ And true or not that they view Boone as to slow for the new scheme ~ That’s why I feel like the Vikings can pick up a OG in the 2nd if need be or a Center in the 3rd like Elflein and then move him or Elflein to right OG if need be ~ The days of big slow OL seem to be a thing of the past now and these guys coming out that are classed as small by NFL standards could fall to the Vikings outside of the 1st or 2nd rounds ~ Well that my hope anyway ~ LOL

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