Vikings Re-Sign Free Agent Lineman

blake brandel
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General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah will have a lot of work to do in his second off-season with the Minnesota Vikings. Many players enter free agency and the franchise is still over the salary cap limit. The GM can free some cap space by releasing players or restructuring and extending some contracts. Contract talks will take place with some of the expensive veterans in the next few weeks.

The new league year will begin on March 15 and the Vikings have to be under the cap at that point. Currently, the team is roughly $23 million over the limit. A couple of days prior to that, teams are legally allowed to talk to free agents. One roster spot is filled for the upcoming season.

Vikings Re-Sign Free Agent Lineman

Vikings Re-Sign Free Agent Lineman
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Depth is important and the Vikings keep one of their top backups in the building. Blake Brandel, a 2020 sixth-round selection, was re-signed with the exclusive rights tender and therefore, will stay on the roster.

The offensive lineman was used as a tight end in formations with six linemen in Klint Kubiak’s offense in 2021 but he proved in 2022 that he can play a larger role for the Vikings.

In 2021, Brandel appeared in 13 games but played only 65 snaps on offense. Just one year later, in the first year under head coach Kevin O’Connell, the lineman appeared in nine games and played 275 snaps on offense.

When star left tackle Christian Darrisaw missed time with a couple of concussions, Brandel moved into the lineup and handled the left tackle duties. Protecting the blind side of a quarterback is important, especially for a pocket passer like Kirk Cousins, and Brandel did a solid job.

Late in the Week 14 loss against the Lions, Brandel suffered a knee injury. The torn MCL cost him the final four games of the regular season before he was activated for the postseason game against the Giants where he appeared on one offensive snap and four special team plays.

to Spell Absolute Doom
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Brandel will keep his old role as a backup lineman. However, starting right tackle Brian O’Neill suffered a partially torn Achilles tendon. If he was to be limited early in the season, Brandel would step up and likely be asked to play right tackle.

Fellow free agent lineman Oli Udoh is also a free agent. He replaced O’Neill in the final three games of the season after his injury and played surprisingly well. Because of his performance in the limited snaps, Udoh might receive a solid offer on the open market.

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Brandel is now under contract for one more season, his salary is the veteran minimum, $940,000. The backup offensive tackle is an underrated position in the NFL and the Vikings keep their guy. The other offensive tackles on the roster are the aforementioned O’Neill and Darrisaw and 2022 rookie Vederian Lowe.

Adofo-Mensah has to decide what he wants to do with center Garrett Bradbury who is also set to enter free agency after four seasons with the Vikings. He needs to be re-signed or the purple team needs to find a replacement in the draft or free agency.

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