The Vikings scanned other rosters to add depth to their offensive line and acquired Jeremiah Sirles from the Chargers on Saturday. They traded away a sixth-round pick, but Sirles brings versatility to a thin unit.
“It was a scenario I never really had thought through,” Sirles said. “When I thought about it, I was excited. Someone was excited about me and that’s all I really wanted was an opportunity. I think I have a great opportunity here to come and play.”
Sirles practiced with the Vikings for the first time on Monday. The 2014 undrafted rookie agent said he played all five spots along the offensive line in training camp with the Chargers and played both tackle positions at Nebraska.
“We watched him throughout the preseason, and we felt like we needed some more people there,” Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said. “It obviously scoured all kinds of rosters throughout this, and he was a guy we kind of pinpointed.”
The Vikings lacked another option at tackle after season ending injuries to starting right tackle Phil Loadholt and backup Carter Bykowski during the preseason. They also placed sixth round pick Tyrus Thompson on injured reserve after suffering a concussion in the preseason finale against the Titans.
Mike Harris, who was Sirles’ teammate in San Diego last year during training camp, will start at right guard after serving the backup swing tackle role last year. Rookie T.J. Clemmings replaced Loadholt as the starting right tackle, causing the Vikings to look elsewhere to address the need.
Sirles, 24, played in two games last season as a rookie, making his first career start in Week 17 against the Chiefs. He felt the biggest thing he learned through those experiences was the speed of the NFL.
“You can’t replicate game speed in practice,” Sirles said. “You can try as much as you want, but it’s really hard. So to get out there and see what the live bullets feel like I feel gave me a leg up going into this preseason.”