Rumored Free-Agent Target Now off Vikings Radar

Rumored Free-Agent Target Now off Vikings Radar
Nov 3, 2019; Denver, CO, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) lines up behind center JC Tretter. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports.

Free agent JC Tretter is off the Minnesota Vikings radar as a possible solution to the team’s center situation as the veteran lineman reportedly retired on Thursday. And it doesn’t seem like the Vikings were all too interested in Tretter from the onset of his free agency.

On Thursday, Alex Prewitt from reported that Tretter claims, “Minnesota never returned our call.”

The veteran offensive lineman was stunningly released by the Cleveland Browns in March, leading Vikings enthusiasts to envision a relationship between Tretter and Minnesota, a team he evidently cheered for as a kid. Minnesota plans to embark on the 2022 season with incumbent center Garrett Bradbury as the starter, but the fourth-year Viking has struggled as a pro with pass protection.

And Tretter never floundered via pass protection.

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Aug 22, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns center JC Tretter. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports.

Specifically, pass blocking was Tretter’s modus operandi. He hadn’t encountered a Pro Football Focus pass-blocking grade south of 80.0 since 2015. For Vikings fans, Tretter felt like a monumental potential upgrade from Bradbury, who graded a 43.7 pass-blocking mark from PFF in 2021.

Too, new Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah previously worked with the Browns, bolstering the case for Tretter-to-Vikings, at least in theory.

But no such luck for the Vikings as the Bradbury experiment is likely to continue, with contingency plans such as Austin Schlottmann and Chris Reed in place, two men added from free agency. Schlottmann dazzled last weekend in the preseason versus the San Francisco 49ers, and Reed has taken center snaps at training camp.

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Cleveland Browns center JC Tretter. © Jeff Lange / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Moreover, with Tretter retiring, the Vikings could swing a trade for a new center. Adofo-Mensah proved his mettle for improving the roster’s weak spots on Monday when he orchestrated a trade for backup quarterback Nick Mullens with the Las Vegas Raiders. If Minnesota is not satisfied with Bradbury or no free agents interest the franchise when roster cuts hit leaguewide next week, Adofo-Mensah could pick up the phone for a center as he did for Mullens. Keep an eye on the Jacksonville Jaguars as a possible trade partner.

Tretter is the president of the NFL Players Association.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. 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).

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