Former Viking Out for the Year in New England

Vikings Draft
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Nothing has gone well for the 2023 New England Patriots. In fact, since Tom Brady left in 2020, the Patriots rank 21st in the NFL per win percentage (.435). New England, of course, ranked No. 1 in the business via wins and losses on Brady’s watch.

Former Viking Out for the Year in New England

The Patriots are virtually eliminated from the postseason, sitting at the AFC’s bottom with a 2-10 record. If the 2024 NFL Draft occurred tonight, New England would pick second, all but certain to select Caleb Williams or Drake Maye.

And on Wednesday, New England placed a former Viking on the IR shelf the rest of the way. Riley Reiff won’t return in 2023 because of a knee injury.

Out for the Year in New
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Pats Pulpit’s Bernd Buchmasser wrote, “Riley Reiff’s season is over. The veteran offensive tackle, who remains on injured reserve despite recently returning to practice, will not be activated to the New England Patriots’ active roster ahead of Wednesday’s deadline, head coach Bill Belichick announced.”

The 12-year veteran had played just 45 snaps this season, all in one game.

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Belichick confirmed, “He’s not going to be able to make it back.”

The 35-year-old will now likely encounter a career crossroads, as his 2023 campaign feels like one of the final chapters. “He’s a player that has a lot of flexibility. There’s a lot to like about him. Unfortunately, he’s just had three setbacks here. It’s just unfortunate,” Belichick added.

Reiff joined the Patriots via free agency in March, on deck as a starting offensive tackle or at least an experienced depth piece. He spent 2022 with the Chicago Bears and the Cincinnati Bengals before that but played for the Vikings from 2017 to 2020. Reiff was one of the bright spots on Minnesota’s offensive line in an otherwise naughty era via pass protection for the team, especially from 2018 to 2020.

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Here’s Reiff’s team-by-team resume to date:

  • Detroit Lions (2012-2016)
  • Minnesota Vikings (2017-2020)
  • Cincinnati Bengals (2021)
  • Chicago Bears (2022)
  • New England Patriots (2023)

Reiff is a steady lineman, balancing run-blocking and pass-protection responsibilities throughout his career. In most seasons, he ends up with a PFF score in the 70s range, although he dipped to 64.3 in 2022 with the Bears.

He was a 1st-Round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft by the Lions, granting him instant name recognition around the league. Detroit selected Reiff six picks before the Vikings landed Harrison Smith 11 years ago.

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick walks off the field at Ray Nitschke Field following joint practice with the Green Bay Packers. August 17, 2023. © Kassidy Hill / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The Patriots’ starting OTs will remain Michael Onwenu and Trent Brown. Former Vikings tackle Vederian Lowe also plays for New England, traded by the Vikings to Foxboro in late August for a 6th-round draft pick.

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,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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