As the Vikings’ quarterback pursuits maintained a methodical pace on the first day of the NFL’s free agency negotiating window, the team took care of a few moves with its restricted free agents Monday.
The team announced it signed two exclusive rights free agents — safety Anthony Harris and running back Mack Brown — while a NFL source said the team was expected to place a second-round tender on guard Nick Easton, who would earn $2.914 million next season if he signs the tender.
The Vikings’ moves amounted mostly to housekeeping, on a day where their attention was ostensibly occupied by larger pursuits.
Monday marked the first day the Vikings, and other teams in need of a starting quarterback, could officially discuss contract terms with representatives for players such as Washington’s Kirk Cousins and New Orleans’ Drew Brees. The Vikings’ interest in Cousins has been something of an open secret in NFL circles, and the team reportedly contacted Brees’ agent, Tom Condon, about the quarterback Monday (Condon also represents Vikings QB Sam Bradford).
Teams cannot sign players from other teams, or host those players on free-agent visits, until the start of the new league year at 3 p.m. Central time on Wednesday.
The Vikings’ move with Easton raised the likelihood they will retain a core member of their offensive line; Easton started 12 games at left guard last season before fracturing his ankle Dec. 23 in Green Bay. If another team signed Easton, the Vikings would have the right to match the offer or receive a second-round pick as compensation.
Easton’s return would solidify one of the team’s guard spots as the Vikings wait to see what will happen with the other one. The team has interest in bringing back linemen Joe Berger and Jeremiah Sirles, but his agent, Chris Gittings, said last week the team did not plan to place a restricted free agent tender on Sirles. A league source has said Berger has interest from teams such as the Panthers, Lions and Bears; the 35-year-old could circle back with the Vikings after testing the market.
The Vikings used tackle Mike Remmers at guard in the playoffs, and could play him there full-time in 2018; the team also could pursue additional help on the offensive line, particularly if it signs a quarterback for less money than Cousins is expected to command on the open market.