Nick Easton declines Vikings’ offer, signs with New Orleans

The Vikings’ desire to bring back guard Nick Easton to help strengthen an offensive line that struggled in 2018 isn’t going to happen.

Easton, who missed last season because of a neck injury, reportedly signed a four-year, $24 million contract with the Saints on Sunday. Adam Schefter of ESPN broke the news and Easton’s agents at JL Sports confirmed their client is headed to New Orleans.

Easton was a member of the Vikings from 2015 through 2018 and started 12 games at left guard in 2017 before suffering a fractured ankle in a Week 16 win at Green Bay. Easton’s injury last summer forced reserve Tom Compton into a starting role. Compton is currently a free agent.

The Saints intend to play the 26-year-old Easton at center, where he would replace the recently retired Max Unger. Easton also could end up at guard for the Saints, if someone else wins the center job.

The Pioneer Press reported Friday the Vikings had made a contract offer to Easton after he visited the Saints on Thursday. Clearly, Easton liked what the Saints offered both financially and as far as a potential starting opportunity.

As for the Vikings situation at guard? The Vikings are near the bottom of the NFL in salary-cap space, and┬áDanny Isidora is the only guard with regular-season experience that the team currently has under contract for 2019.┬áMike Remmers, the team’s starting right guard in 2018, was released last week before free agency opened.