The Vikings coaching staff was pleased with how left tackle Riley Reiff played last season, and the front office just rewarded him before a potential return to the negotiating table.
Reiff had a $1 million signing bonus added to his contract, a league source confirmed, to make up for money lost through playing-time incentives when Reiff was held out of the Vikings' season finale win in Detroit due to a positive COVID test. NFL Media first reported the news.
Reiff's absence dropped his season playing time to 92.6%, below the 93.75% required in his previous contract for $1 million. The team captain hadn't missed a snap prior to the Week 17 win, and he'd already earned $1 million for reaching 86% playing time.
The Vikings' good faith effort partially refills Reiff's pockets after he had accepted a $5 million pay cut before the season opener, when general manager Rick Spielman acquired defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and needed salary cap room.
Reiff, 32, is still scheduled to enter a contract year with a $5 million roster bonus due March 19, which is a deadline for the Vikings to decide on his future with the team. The recent signing bonus may be a precursor to extension talks. Before March 19, Reiff has nothing guaranteed in the $11.65 million he's scheduled to earn in 2021.
In October, during Reiff's only media availability of the season, he said he takes his playing career "hour by hour."
"My teammates, coaches. I love playing here in Minnesota," Reiff said. "Midwest, tough. I like this division. I'm grateful to be here."
Head coach Mike Zimmer, quarterback Kirk Cousins and newly-retired coordinator Gary Kubiak all praised Reiff's fourth season in Minnesota, during which he was tabbed with allowing one sack by Pro Football Focus.
"What a tremendous job he did this year," Cousins said after the Jan. 3 win in Detroit. "He wasn't able to be there [Jan. 3], but just had a great year as a ninth-year pro, was there every single day and played at a really high level."