The Vikings Are Reportedly Talking to the Man Who Could Fix the Offensive Line

The Vikings Are Reportedly Talking to the Guy Who Could Fix the Offensive Line
JC Tretter and Baker Mayfield

The Cleveland Browns unexpectedly released center JC Tretter on Tuesday, allowing the Cornell alumnus and president of the NFLPA to hit the open free-agent market.

Because the Minnesota Vikings have longstanding pass-protection woes — and the team’s general manager, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, was recently employed in Cleveland — speculation on the franchise acquiring Tretter checked out.

And now it seems those free-agent discussions may be occurring.

The account cleaned up the verbiage thereafter:

If the Vikings are indeed talking with Tretter — which makes all the sense in the world — that’s a good thing. Minnesota currently employs Garrett Bradbury at center, who run-blocks with competence but struggles mightily in keeping quarterbacks upright. Signing Tretter would instantly cure the ills of Bradbury.

Why? Because he’s one of the best pass-blocking centers in the NFL. Here’s the Pro Football Focus history from Tretter:

  • 2014 = 51.6
  • 2015 = 76.2
  • 2016 = 78.2
  • 2017 = 69.1
  • 2018 = 76.9
  • 2019 = 72.0
  • 2020 = 77.1
  • 2021 = 78.7
Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Among his strong skills is pass-protection, a prowess the Vikings desperately need.

Bradbury will play on the second-to-last year of his rookie deal in 2022, and waiving him achieves little. Too, a trade market for the man is likely slim. However, upgrading at the center position should take place no matter what commitment is invested in Bradbury. For too long, the Vikings move men around on the offensive line from their organic positions, draft underwhelmingly, and hope for the best.

Tretter is a bonafide solution, not married to hopeful-maybes. The proof is the pudding with his Cleveland resume.

Pass-blocking is Tretter’s modus operandi. He has not encountered a PFF pass-blocking grade south of 80.0 since 2015. A remarkable feat.

Incidentally, the Vikings cleared cap space this week, moving money around with the contracts of Harrison Smith and Adam Thielen. More cap maneuvers are on the horizon, perhaps with players like Eric Kendricks. And Danielle Hunter’s contract needs resolution by Sunday. Soon, the cash should be available to make an offer for Tretter — and thus solidifying the offensive line once and for all.

Tretter, 31, earned about $11 million per year with the Browns, a deal signed in 2019.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. His YouTube Channel, VikesNow, debuts in March 2022. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).