INDIANAPOLIS — Nearly seven months after Nick Easton underwent surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck, the 26-year-old guard is expected to be medically cleared to continue his playing career, according to Vikings general manager Rick Spielman.
“I’m not going to talk about game-planning or anything like that,” Spielman said Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine. “but medically he should be cleared.”
Easton “just went out to his doctor,” Spielman said, adding “he’ll be cleared.” His surgery was done in Los Angeles by Dr. Robert Watkins, a spine specialist.
Easton’s clearance gives the Vikings another option to consider during the inevitable roster churn on a beleaguered offensive line featuring three pending free agents in Easton, Tom Compton and Brett Jones.
The Vikings will have to mull Easton’s durability when considering to re-sign him. He’s ended back-to-back seasons on injured reserve, also fracturing his ankle in December 2017, but he’s played well when healthy. Spielman felt highly enough of Easton to place a second-round tender (worth $2.9 million) on the restricted free agent a year ago, before his season-ending neck injury in August.
Now Easton is set to be an unrestricted free agent when the new league year begins March 13.
Easton has started 17 games at left guard and center since he and a sixth-round pick were acquired via trade from San Francisco in exchange for linebacker Gerald Hodges in 2015.