As general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah introduced the Vikings' first two free-agent signings of the offseason on Thursday afternoon, the team was hosting another free agent at TCO Performance Center in Eagan.
Bills offensive lineman Ryan Bates, who started Buffalo's final five games at guard last season, visited the Vikings on Thursday, according to a league source. Bates, 25, is a restricted free agent who was given the low-level tender by the Bills. He's free to visit and field offers from other teams, but the Bills get the "right of first refusal" to match any other contract offer.
Bates, listed 6-foot-4 and 302 pounds, was primarily a versatile backup for Buffalo after going undrafted in 2019 out of Penn St. But he got his first shot in the starting lineup in December due to injuries to starters. He started at right guard before starting the last four games, including both of Buffalo's playoff games, at left guard. Bates has also played limited snaps at center for the Bills.
The Vikings agreed to terms with ex-Broncos center/guard Austin Schlottmann on Wednesday. Among interior offensive linemen, the Vikings have center Garrett Bradbury and guards Ezra Cleveland, Oli Udoh, Wyatt Davis, Schlottmann and Kyle Hinton under contract.
Ex-Vikings center/guard Mason Cole signed a three-year deal with the Steelers this week.