A Hometown Minnesotan Hits Free Agency

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If the Minnesota Vikings or 30 other NFL teams are interested in bolstering their offensive line’s interior, a Burnsville native is available to help.

He’s Chase Roullier, a center released by the Washington Commanders on Friday.

A Hometown Minnesotan Hits Free Agency

The Washington Post’s Nicki Jhabvala tweeted, “The Commanders are releasing C Chase Roullier, per source. This seemed likely for a while; the Commanders signed Nick Gates in free agency and drafted Ricky Stromberg in the 3rd round. Roullier is fully healthy, so it’s possible another opportunity materializes quickly for him.”

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A 6th-Round pick in 2017 from Wyoming, Roullier played 69 games, starting 63, for the Commanders in six seasons. But his last two NFL campaigns have been marred by injury, participating in just 10 games since the start of 2021. For Washington, it was time to turn the page and rely on a surer thing in Gates.

Roullier will turn 30 later this summer and should have a moderate market for life after Washington. He attended Burnsville high school, so if the name sounds familiar to locals, there’s a good reason for it.

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Before the injury bug arose, Roullier was quite productive as a starting center. He signed a four-year, $40.5 million extension after the 2020 season when things were humming, but the Commanders were ready to move on this week. Here’s Roullier’s Pro Football Focus tale of the tape since 2017:

  • 2017 = 64.4
  • 2018 = 65.0
  • 2019 = 69.3
  • 2020 = 76.8
  • 2021 = 83.7
  • 2022 = 56.3 (limited playing time)

And his skillset is pass-protection heavy, even teetering on one of the league’s best pass-blocking centers before the injuries set in. His run blocking, too, was commendable, but pass protection was his thing from 2017 to 2021.

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Cap space is an issue if the Vikings have any free-agent fascination with the 29-year-old. Next to the New York Giants, Minnesota has the fewest free-agent funds available as of May 4th with $1.12 million. However, if general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is intrigued by Roullier — or any other free agent — restructuring RT Brian O’Neill’s contract or trading/releasing Dalvin Cook or Za’Darius Smith after June 1st would free up ample cap space. In fact, with those three hypothetical moves, the Vikings could go from worst to first via cap space in a hurry.

Roullier crossed paths at Wyoming with Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen.

The Commanders employ one other former Viking — cornerback Cameron Dantzer who joined Washington in March. The Vikings are scheduled to play the Commanders again in 2025 at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Minnesota currently has Garrett Bradbury, Austin Schlottmann, and Josh Sokol at center on the depth chart.

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 OverTheCap.com.