Well, One Viking Took a Paycut.

National Opinion of the Vikings Is Different from Yours
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings are about $7.4 million over the salary cap as of Saturday morning, March 11th. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has until March 15th at 3:00 pm CST to get in the green.

And that task will be a touch easier, thanks to offensive guard Chris Reed.

Well, One Viking Took a Paycut.

The offensive lineman reportedly agreed to a renegotiated deal that appears to feature a paycut.

Viking Took
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

ESPN’s Field Yates tweeted Saturday, “Vikings G Chris Reed also agreed to a renegotiated deal for 2023 that reduces his cap charge by about $1M.”

Reed, 30, played in seven games last year, starting one, the regular season finale at the Chicago Bears. He replaced Garrett Bradbury and Austin Schlottmann at center in a Week 17 contest at the Green Bay Packers with a performance he’d assuredly like to forget. But after one week’s worth of practice and reps at center — he’s a guard by trade — Reed played commendably at Soldier Field to wrap up the 2022 regular season.

Indianapolis Colts guard Chris Reed (62) (right) warms up before the team’s game against the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday, Dec. 25, 2021, at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. Indianapolis Colts At Arizona Cardinals. © Jenna Watson/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK.

His 2023 assignment? That is unclear as of March. Reed is sturdy enough to start at guard for an NFL team but likely on deck to serve as a backup to Ezra Cleveland and Ed Ingram this September. There’s a longshot theory that Reed could be the team’s center in 2023 if Garrett Bradbury leaves in free agency, but Adofo-Mensah would probably sign a true-blue center in free agency or draft one in April’s draft.

Last summer, Reed told Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press about the possibility of playing center after receiving practice reps at the spot, “I’ll definitely play wherever they need me to play.” Then, the plan came to fruition in January.

Reed joined the Vikings last spring after stints with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Carolina Panthers, Miami Dolphins, and Indianapolis Colts — a journeyman indeed.

The Minnesota State alumnus has experience with the aforementioned clubs playing left guard, right guard, and center. So far in his career, Reed has registered decent grades from Pro Football Focus, especially since 2019:

  • 2016 = 53.5
  • 2017 = 50.8
  • 2018 = 57.3
  • 2019 = 70.3
  • 2020 = 63.0
  • 2021 = 67.2
  • 2022 = 54.3
The Vikings Contingency Plan at Center
Indianapolis Colts guard Chris Reed (62) practices Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021, before a game against the New England Patriots at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. © Christine Tannous/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK.

With other Vikings veterans, including Adam Thielen, Eric Kendricks, Dalvin Cook, C.J. Ham, and Za’Darius Smith, Reed was a possible cap casualty heading into the 2023 offseason. But unlike Thielen and Kendricks, who were released this week, Reed is safe heading into the summer for job security.

Reed is an especially valuable commodity for Vikings fans because the team’s guard play before head coach Kevin O’Connell took over inspired frequent nightmares. From 2018 to 2021, Minnesota could not solve the right guard spot, employing oodles of solutions that turned out to be half-measures.

Pro Football Focus graded the Vikings 2023 offensive line as the 13th-best in the league — a vast improvement from iterations of years past.

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.