Schefter: Nick Easton to Sign with Saints

Image credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Things just got a little more interesting in the Minnesota Vikings’ search for offensive linemen. Nick Easton will not be part of the equation. He will play for the New Orleans Saints in 2019. The offensive lineman on Sunday agreed to a four-year, $24 million deal to be the Saints’ starting center. Easton, 26, had been a member of the Vikings since 2015.

The signing was reported by Adam Schefter of ESPN, who later reported that Easton will move back to center for New Orleans. The Saints recently lost center Max Unger to retirement.

Easton, 26, was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Baltimore Ravens in 2015. The Harvard product was then traded twice in two months. He was first dealt to the San Francisco 49ers for a 7th-round pick before he was packaged with a 6th-round pick and traded to the Vikings in exchange for linebacker Gerald Hodges.

As a member of the Vikings, Easton made six starts at center and 11 at left guard the following two seasons. In 2017, he did not allow a single sack in 748 snaps according to Pro Football Focus.

Seen as the projected starter at left guard for the 2018 season, the Vikings in March placed a second-round tender on Easton, who was then a restricted free agent. The tender paid Easton $2.914 million.

During training camp, while filling in at center for a rehabbing Pat Elflein, Easton experienced soreness in his upper back and neck. After getting checked out by an orthopedic specialist, it was determined he would need a season-ending operation. Easton underwent the surgery in Los Angeles on August 9th and missed the entire season.

Easton was deemed likely to return at 100% before being medically cleared to play during the NFL Combine. Now, his future is clear as he’s healthy and he’s about to become a member of the Who Dat nation. It’s quite the story for a player who’s career was potentially in question less than a year ago.

The departure of Easton will likely force the Vikings to look outside the organization for options to fill the void at guard. It was reported on Sunday the Vikings have already expressed interest in a couple of offensive linemen who could replace Easton.