You Should Love Garrett Bradbury’s New Vikings Contract

with 7 Days
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Some Vikings players left the organization in free agency and signed either huge deals or their cap hits were too big. Patrick Peterson and Dalvin Tomlinson will play in the AFC after agreeing to mind-blowing contracts, especially since Tomlinson is now paid like a top-10 defensive tackle in football.

Adam Thielen and Eric Kendricks were released because they didn’t play up to their high salaries, and their performance was declining. A big theme of the Vikings’ free agency was to retain their players. Minnesota kept many free agents in the building. Among others, Alexander Mattison, Jonathan Bullard, and backup QB Nick Mullens re-signed with the purple team.

You Should Love Garrett Bradbury’s New Vikings Contract

New Vikings Contract
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Another player that the team brought back was center Garrett Bradbury. The former first-round selection entered free agency but apparently couldn’t find a better deal elsewhere.

His rookie contract expired, and he was expected to have a market in free agency. However, a few days later, Bradbury and the Vikings agreed to a three-year contract worth $15,750,000. That doesn’t sound like a bargain, but it is one, as the Vikings could get out of the deal after just one season with only having to take $3,256,000 in dead cap.

His cap number in 2023 is $2,629,793 after adding two void years in 2026 and 2027. That ranks him 22nd in the NFL. The average annual salary of his deal, $5,250,000, ranks him 14th in the league. He signed a very team-friendly contract.

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If Bradbury doesn’t perform as well as desired, the team could easily move on from him. Of course, Bradbury is fully expected to start in 2023 after a decent season in 2022. He was much improved in Kevin O’Connell’s offense compared to his first two career seasons.

In the past, his pass protection was a gigantic liability. Whenever he went up against strong defensive tackles, the undersized center was pushed back into Kirk Cousins with ease, but that liability disappeared. Many fans have nightmares about Akiem Hicks and Kenny Clark, who Bradbury each faced twice a season.

In an interior offensive line featuring Ezra Cleveland and rookie Ed Ingram, Bradbury was a solid centerpiece and immensely helped the line. If the Vikings want to have a deep playoff run, that line still needs to improve to allow the offense to have more success in the passing and running game.

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The Vikings didn’t make any changes to their offensive line room. Everyone from last year’s group returned, including free agents Bradbury, Austin Schlottmann, Blake Brandel, Oli Udoh, and practice squad player Josh Sokol. Nobody was added.

Minnesota is now in a wonderful spot concerning its center position. There is no downside in Bradbury’s contract. If he struggles, he won’t be on the team for long, and if the Vikings find a successor in the draft or free agency, they can just give him the axe as well.

Excellent centers in the draft can be found in rounds three and four, occasionally even in later rounds. It wouldn’t be shocking if the Vikings tried to bring in some competition in the future, maybe in the 2023 draft in a few weeks. The roster has some other needs, especially a replacement for Adam Thielen and another cornerback, but that shouldn’t stop the Vikings from picking the best player available, and one of them might be a center.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt