Report: Vikings to Place 2nd-Round Tender on OL Nick Easton

The team will keep its starting left guard of 2017

The Vikings will continue the rebuilding of the offensive line with a starting piece from last season.

According to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, the Minnesota Vikings plan to place a second-round tender on offensive lineman Nick Easton. Easton was the team’s starting left guard last season.

Easton, a restricted free agent, will earn $2.914 million in 2018 if no other team makes him an offer. The Vikings have the right to match any contract offered by another team. A new team would have to forfeit a second-round pick to land the versatile lineman.

The 25 year-old was acquired by the Vikings in a 2016 trade with the San Francisco 49ers. In the trade, Gerald Hodges was sent to the 49ers in exchange for Easton and 6th-round pick. Easton, a Harvard graduate, made his first career start in place of Joe Berger in Week 13 last season. He remained a starter for the rest of the year.

Before the 2017 season, Easton was moved to LG after he beat out Alex Boone for the starting job. Easton wound up starting 12 games. His low Pro Football Focus grade (of 41.5) and seven penalties suggest inconsistency, 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.

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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. Let me be the first to admit that I was all wrong about the Vikings placing the second-round tender on Easton. I was sure that they wouldn’t want to pay him nearly three million dollars for one year, which is more than a million dollars more than Joe Berger’s cap hit was last year ($1,882,500, 44th among guards in the league,, and over twice the amount of cash Berger actually got in 2017. Given this tender, I am now inclined to think that Easton will remain a Viking in 2018 and will get the chance, if his run blocking improves, to prove that he can be the long-term starter at left guard.

    With Berger now planning on playing instead of retiring in 2018, AND having talked of testing free agency, AND the second-round, $2.914 million tender on Easton, AND their respective 2017 Pro Football Focus grades of 77.6 (18th among guards) for Berger and 41.5 (60th) for Easton, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Berger was looking for a one-year deal worth considerably north of $4 million. He’d have to get more than $6.75 million to match the 18th place ranking he got from PFF last year, and frankly deserves it for how grossly underpaid he’s been the last four seasons.

    I’d love to think that Spielman will do the right thing by Berger and cut a deal with him in the $6 million range, but I wouldn’t hold my breath, and Berger would be a hell of a nice “bridge” starter at center or guard for some team rebuilding their offensive line, or trying to instill confidence in some young QB in whom they’ve just invested millions of dollars (see Sullivan, John and Goff, Jared). My hopes aren’t exactly helped along by the fact that Josh Sitton was cut by the Bears after making $6.8+ million last year, 13th among guards, while grading out with PP among the top five or six, as I recall. Still, I’d hate to lose Berger with only Danny Isidora on the roster, even if we draft a Billy Price, Isiah Wynn or James Daniels, and hopefully Mike Zimmer and Tony Sparano will feel the same way.

    1. I was a little surprised to see the Vikings apply the 2nd-round tender as well. They clearly like Easton and it’s been reported by Chris Tomasson that both sides would like to work out a long-term deal.

      Tomasson also reported this morning that Berger is now leaning towards retirement (again). He’s received two offers (Vikings & Lions) and both must not be the dollar amount he was expecting. We shall see.

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