Vikings Get Steal of a Deal in Free Agency

Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah who was hired in January 2022 after the club parted ways with Rick Spielman. The Vikings finished 13-4 in Adofo-Mensah's first season as general manager.

From 2018 to 2021, the most frequently criticized aspect of the Minnesota Vikings organization was the offensive line, particularly pass protection.

Last year, the club hired the offensive-minded Kevin O’Connell to lead the team, and the offensive trenches stabilized, to a degree. And heading into 2023, O’Connell might just have some OL continuity.

Vikings Get Steal of a Deal in Free Agency

The Vikings re-signed center Garrett Bradbury on Tuesday for three more years and $15.75 million, a move that likely secured a 2023 offensive line of Christian Darrisaw (LT), Ezra Cleveland (LG), Bradbury, Ed Ingram (RG), and Brian O’Neill (RT).

Vikings Get Steal
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) and center Garrett Bradbury (56) celebrate Thielen’s touchdown in the second half. © Danielle Parhizkaran/, North Jersey Record via Imagn Content Services, LLC.

ESPN’s Mike Garafolo tweeted, “The Vikings have reached an agreement with C Garrett Bradbury to return to Minnesota, source says. The 2019 first-round pick remains Kirk Cousins’ center.”

Bradbury, 27, will remain in Minnesota for the first part of the O’Connell era and be reevaluated after the 2025 season. He was one of a handful of free agents, including Patrick Peterson, Duke Shelley, Greg Joseph, etc., where true mystery ensued about whether he’d return. Now, fans have a verdict on the North Carolina state alumnus.

17 Final Injury Report
Wm. Glasheen/Appleton Post-Crescent -USA TODAY NETWORK.

The veteran offensive lineman’s tenure in Minnesota has been sour-and-sweet since joining the franchise four years ago. With 1st-Round draft stock, centers should be damn near legendary or at least eventually to the level of a Pro Bowl contributor. But it took Bradbury four years to settle in and finally get unlocked, a bit, by O’Connell and offensive line coach Chris Kuper.

The encouraging part of the Bradbury reunion? Price and continuity. Some estimates claimed Bradbury would fetch about $10 million per season via his next contract, and he re-signed in Minnesota for half. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah didn’t have to break the bank for Bradbury’s services, and if that were the case, Bradubry likely would’ve skedaddled to another franchise.

One source told VikingsTerritory that Bradbury’s decision boiled down to the Vikings and 49ers, and Bradbury chose Minnesota.

The Vikings Are a Center Away from a Complete Offense 
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports.

On continuity, the Vikings will have offensive line stability for the first time in over a decade. Under Mike Zimmer, the team constantly tried new solutions, never afraid to switch guards to tackle and vice versa. When Zimmer’s successor arrived 13 months ago, linemen were mostly left in their organic spots and cultivated, and the days of OL musical chairs appear to be kaput.

Here’s Bradbury’s Pro Football Focus resume through four seasons;

  • 2019 = 58.1
  • 2020 = 61.4
  • 2021 = 60.2
  • 2022 = 70.2

The improvement is noteworthy, and while not a top-tier center, Bradbury didn’t struggle mightily via pass protection in 2022, which was the case for much of 2019-2021. Returning the man to an affordable contract didn’t seem realistic one week ago, but Adofo-Mensah completed the deal.

Bradbury’s 68.1 pass-protection grade from PFF shouldn’t mandate a parade, but it did signal improvement, a characteristic begged for by Vikings onlookers for three years.

The Vikings also re-signed QB2 Nick Mullens on Tuesday.

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).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by