Could the Vikings be closing in on finding a replacement for Riley Reiff?
A day after releasing the left tackle and saving $11.75 million in salary-cap space, Orlando Brown Jr., appears to be very much on the Vikings’ radar. Mike Garafolo of NFL.com talked to Brown, who said his agents are handling discussions with teams and sources indicated the camp has had ongoing conversations with six teams.
Although Brown and his representatives did not want to identify the suitors, the Vikings are believed to be one of the teams and it’s known they have expressed interest in Brown. The Ravens gave Brown and his agents permission to seek a trade last month after Brown made it clear he wanted to play left tackle and not right tackle. The Ravens already have Ronnie Stanley set at left tackle, although Brown did switch to that position last season after Stanley was injured.
Brown has played in every game since being a third-round pick by the Ravens in 2018 and hasn’t missed a start in two years.
The question becomes what will it take to get Brown? A trade would probably start with the Vikings sending the 14th pick to Baltimore, but the Vikings could try to get the Ravens’ first-round pick (27th) back in a swap and then send additional picks to the Ravens.
Brown was taken in the draft the same year in which the Vikings selected right tackle Brian O’Neill in the second round. Both players are entering the fourth and final season of their rookie contracts, meaning they are due for rich extensions but it won’t impact their 2021 pay. That’s an advantage given the salary cap has come down to $182.5 million for this season but could climb substantially in 2022.
Brown, who almost certainly would get a contract extension as part of any trade, will earn $3.384 million in base salary with a salary cap hit of $3.6 million this season. O’Neill will have a base salary of $2.433 million this season with a cap hit of $2.754 million.
Having Brown and O’Neill at tackle would give the Vikings an inexpensive pair of good tackles in the short term and, even though it eventually would be costly, would provide a long-term solution at two key spots.