Is a Change Coming for Vikings at Center?

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The Minnesota Vikings used a first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft on center Garrett Bradbury. They needed to shore up the offensive line in front of franchise quarterback Kirk Cousins, and a new snapper was a place to start. After being brought back last season, is he now on the way out for 2024?

Is a Change Coming for Vikings at Center?

The Vikings have been through the wringer regarding Garrett Bradbury’s career. He got off to a slow start in the league and looked little more than a turnstile at your local Menards to start his tenure. By the time there was a decision on his fifth-year option, it was a no-brainer to decline it. Then, he improved substantially, and the organization had no option but to bring him back. Now, we have reached a crossroads yet again.

a change coming
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Bradbury has now played five NFL seasons, all for the Vikings. He was relatively awful for three of them while being exceptional in his fourth. Last year was a bit of a mixed bag, but it also included health setbacks for the Minnesota setback, and having been brought in on a three-year deal, the team must decide how to move forward.

Minnesota would be on the hook for a cap hit north of $5.7 million if they were to retain the services of their center. The interior offensive line needs to be much better in 2024 than it was this season, but continuity at the center position could help. Dalton Risner looked like an answer but now wants to get paid after being snubbed in free agency, and Ed Ingram is still trying to settle into his role. There is an opportunity to shift bodies and money if the front office sees better upgrades elsewhere.

For Bradbury specifically, his three-year deal can effectively become a one-year deal if Minnesota wants to get cheaper. He would present no cap hit in 2024, and the $5.191 million he made last season would be their only financial outlay. If they want to make it, it’s a straightforward decision, but the replacement must be the correct answer.

Outcome at QB
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After being ready to move on, Minnesota wisely brought Bradbury back after the performance in his final year. He didn’t find another place he’d rather be on the open market last year, and the contract he signed allowed for the Vikings to have substantial flexibility. His production did taper off this season, but again, there were more factors than just what was happening on the field.

Minnesota’s decision on Bradbury could come down to how much of the line they want to revamp and what quarterback they have under center. If Kirk Cousins is getting paid, then there are fewer funds. If a rookie is stepping in, there is an even greater need to give them time. Risner’s contract could complicate things, and while he may want to be back, the Vikings can’t break the bank. They also aren’t far from needing to back up a Brinks truck for Christian Darrisaw.

the Vikings Last 5
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Despite some setbacks during certain games this season, Minnesota’s line is arguably better than in years past. The Vikings didn’t always utilize it to the greatest extent, but the group did a good job as a whole. Are they ready to move on from the guy in the middle of all that? We’ll have to wait and see.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.