Less than a week after he was cut as a salary cap casualty in Tennessee, Josh Kline was in Minnesota with a fresh round of financial security — and, potentially, a new role as a central figure in the Vikings' latest offensive line overhaul.
Kline, released March 15 by the Titans, signed a three-year deal with Vikings on Wednesday that could be worth up to $15.75 million. He comes to the Vikings after a season in a Titans offense coordinated by new Packers coach Matt LaFleur, whose offensive roots are the same as those of Vikings assistant head coach Gary Kubiak and offensive line coach Rick Dennison. When players return to the team's practice facility on April 15 for the start of offseason workouts, Kline will have as much experience with the particulars of the Vikings' new offense as anyone not named Kirk Cousins.
"It definitely helps out with the transition for me and for Kirk," Kline said in a conference call Thursday. "I'm sure when he was at Washington, he had some of the same verbiage and everything. There's little things that are different, but everything is pretty much the same and there's a lot of aspects in any offense throughout the league that have similar aspects but just have different terminology. In this system, the terminology is basically the same, so it's going to help out.
"A lot of football with me as a player, I have to go out and actually do it. You can draw it up on the board all you want, but me as a learner, I have to go out and do it. So, starting here with Minnesota, having a whole entire offseason with the team is going to help me out a lot, just from a fit aspect: my right tackle and my center, as an offensive line as a whole, and as an offense as a whole."
The 29-year-old said the team has talked about keeping him at the right guard spot he's played the past three seasons. He arrives as the only guard on the Vikings roster with significant NFL starting experience, and he'll be counted upon to help upgrade an offensive line that's turned into an annual project.
"I'll try to be a leader in that aspect, but I prefer to lead by example and by actions," he said. "I'm not someone who really speaks up unless I have to. I just want to be a team player and just help this team out any way I can. If that's my actions, showing the younger guys how I'm working and what I'm doing as a good teammate, that should help out. If I have to pull some younger guys aside and give them some perspective, then I'll have to, but we'll see what comes with that, because I haven't met any of the offensive linemen yet. It's going to be a great room, from what I hear and from what I saw on tape."
Undrafted out of Kent State, the 6-3, 295-pound Kline has started 64 of his 79 regular-season game appearances, including an active streak of 46 consecutive starts at right guard.
Kline played for the Patriots from 2013-15, starting five of six playoff games. He won a Super Bowl with New England his second season there.
Kline, who had dinner with Vikings coaches Tuesday evening before touring the team facility Wednesday, praised Dennison's attention to details, saying the Vikings' new line coach can help him "because my technique can be a little off sometimes, so that's what I need.
"I want to be coachable," he said. "From what I hear and from [his] past players I've asked around the league, they've spoken very highly of him."