Vikings Short Timer Lands with Bills

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports.

The Cincinnati Bengals dominated the Buffalo Bills last weekend in the AFC’s Divisional Playoff round, winning by a final score of 27-10 and punctuating Buffalo’s season with a whimper.

From the end of last year’s Super Bowl until Sunday afternoon, the Bills were oddsmakers’ favorites to hoist a Lombardi this season — but no cigar.

Vikings Short Timer Lands with Bills

So, Buffalo’s offseason began prematurely. But before that, one of its first orders of business was grabbing a former Minnesota Vikings player on a ‘futures’ contract — center Greg Mancz.

Vikings Short Timer Lands
Bills lineman Greg Mancz (62) looks to pick up the block at the line as his quarterback Matt Barkley gets the ball from center in the second half of the Bills preseason game against Denver Saturday, Aug. 20, 2022. © Shawn Dowd / USA TODAY NETWORK.

ESPN’s Alaina Getzenberg tweeted late last week, “The Bills have signed OL Greg Mancz to the practice squad and placed OL Alec Anderson on practice squad injured reserve. Mancz is back after being waived by the Vikings earlier this week.”

Remember that tender period a few weeks ago when Garrett Bradbury was injured with a back malady, Austin Schlottmann got hurt against the Green Bay Packers, and Chris Reed looked terrible during his Vikings debut? That’s when Minnesota’s general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah signed Mancz, a veteran offensive lineman. He was a contingency plan for Bradbury and Reed, with the postseason mere weeks away.

Bills offensive lineman Greg Mancz (62), left, hikes the ball to quarterback Case Keenum (18) during day six of the Buffalo Bills training camp at St John Fisher University in Rochester Saturday, July 30, 2022. © Shawn Dowd / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Of course, the playoffs ended for the Vikings too soon — kind of like the Bills — losing to the New York Giants in Wildcard Round, 31-24. Mancz never formally played on a regular season or playoff field for Minnesota and hence only stuck around for about 2.5 weeks.

The 30-year-old journeyman center has 64 games of NFL experience and will now inhabit the Bills roster orbit. Buffalo signed Mancz last March, kept him around until end-of-summer roster trimdowns, and plopped the Toledo alumnus on the practice squad. But he was released in November, enabling Mancz to later join the Vikings for a brief period.

Bills center Mitch Morse (right) and Greg Mancz during the stretching period of an OTA session. © Jamie Germano / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The Houston Texans found Mancz via undrafted free agency in 2015. He played 58 games for the Texans while starting 28, mostly between 2016 and 2018. He joined the Dolphins, Bills, and Vikings thereafter.

The Bills have four total Vikings somewhere on their roster: Zach Davidson (TE), Stefon Diggs (WR), Case Keenum (QB) — and Mancz. Former Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier is the team’s defensive coordinator and James Cook, a Bills running back, is the younger brother of Dalvin Cook.

Last week, the Vikings signed these men to future contracts:

  • WR Trishton Jackson
  • WR Blake Proehl
  • TE Nick Muse
  • C Josh Sokol
  • OLB Benton Whitley
  • CB Tay Gowan

NFL free agency begins on March 15th.

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 Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

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