Cap-strapped after agreeing to terms with Anthony Barr on a five-year, $67.5 million deal, the Minnesota Vikings didn’t have much cash left to throw around in NFL free agency, which may have cost them at chance at retaining one or two former starters on their offensive line.
The team’s 2017 starting left guard Nick Easton and 2018 starting left guard Tom Compton agreed to deals with the New Orleans Saints and New York Jets, respectively, in the last 24 hours, leaving the Vikings with more holes to fill at a position of need.
Easton signed for a reported four years, $24 million in New Orleans, who lost center Max Unger to retirement. Acquired by the Vikings in 2015, Easton missed the 2018 season with a neck injury and was offered a contract to return and presumably compete for his old job, but the Saints’ offer grew too steep to match. Compton, who had ups and downs in 2018 with the Vikings and dealt with a knee injury, was reportedly not offered a deal to come back.
The Vikings did add to their roster Monday afternoon by re-signing Ameer Abdullah, who they signed off waivers midway through the 2018 season after Abdullah was cut by the Detroit Lions.
The former second-round pick was almost exclusively a kick returner last season with 10 returns for almost 26 yards per return. He touched the ball just once on offense in six offensive snaps.
But with mutual interest to reunite for another season, Abdullah signed a one-year deal to increase his role in an offense now influenced by Gary Kubiak, who Abdullah is familiar with through combine meetings in the past. He believes the familiar terminology will help him ingratiate quickly into the Vikings plans.
“This offensive moving forward is going to be built off of versatility,” said Abdullah on a conference call. “The more you can do, the more opportunity you’re going to have as a player.”
With Latavius Murray moving on to the Saints and backup running back Roc Thomas facing felony charges for marijuana possession, the Vikings were thin at running back with only Dalvin Cook and Mike Boone remaining. Thomas is still on the roster but may face a suspension.
Abdullah believes he can be more than just a reserve, even with the explosive Cook above him on the depth chart.
“I come into this situation looking to compete, looking to be that guy, even with Dalvin here,” said Abdullah.