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Zulgad’s Roundup: Veteran center JC Tretter has Vikings on “short list” of teams that interest him

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Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb (24) rushes for yards behind Cleveland Browns center JC Tretter (64) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Cleveland, Ohio. Chubb 1

It remains to be seen if the Vikings will reach out to JC Tretter, but the veteran center is definitely interested in playing for the Purple. Phil Mackey, my co-host on Mackey & Judd on SKOR North, reported Thursday that the Vikings are on Tretter’s “short list” of teams he would be interested in signing with after being released last March by the Cleveland Browns.

Tretter, 31, has dealt with knee issues but started every game but one for the Browns over the past five seasons. The only game he missed came in 2021 and was because of COVID. Cleveland had one of the NFL’s top offensive lines in each of the past two seasons.

Considering the Vikings are trying to win immediately with new general manager Kwesi-Adofo Mensah and coach Kevin O’Connell, it would make sense for the team to at least check on what Tretter would want on a one-year contract. Center Garrett Bradbury, the Vikings’ first-round pick in 2019, will return for a fourth season, but the team did not pick up his fifth-year option and there almost certainly will be competition for the job.

The 6-foot-4, 307-pound Tretter gave up one sack, was called for five penalties and had an 83.7 pass-blocking grade last season, according to Pro Football Focus. Bradbury, who is 6-3, 300 pounds, had a grade of 43.7 in the same category.

Tretter, who has been re-elected for a second term as president of the NFL Players Association, spent his first three seasons with the Packers before joining the Browns in 2017. He is a solid run blocker and in pass protection. Tretter’s presence would mean less immediate pressure up the middle on quarterback Kirk Cousins.

Adofo-Mensah spent the past two seasons as vice president of football operations for the Browns, so he’s very familiar with Tretter. Plug Tretter into the middle of the Vikings’ line — even if he has to miss some practice time because of knee issues — and the line will look strong at both left (Christian Darrisaw) and right (Brian O’Neill) tackle and at left guard (Ezra Cleveland). That would enable free-agent addition Chris Reed and second-round pick Ed Ingram to battle for the job at right guard.

If the Vikings don’t add a veteran such as Tretter at center, it’s likely Reed will compete with Bradbury for the starting spot. That would seem less than idea for a team that has missed the playoffs the past two seasons and fired its GM and coach after last season.

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  • The way defenseman Jared Spurgeon has performed in the playoffs, it’s not a stretch to think that the Wild captain is dealing with some type of injury that isn’t allowing him to play at his normal level. Spurgeon was on the ice, and failed to make plays, on two huge goals by the Blues in the Wild’s loss in Game 5 at Xcel Energy Center. Spurgeon was a minus-3 for the game.
  • The Wild will give Cam Talbot the start in goal in Game 6 on Thursday, after Marc-Andre Fleury started the first five games. Fleury is set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason and one has to wonder how much damage repair might have to be done in the team’s relationship with Talbot? Talbot is set to make $3 million next season in the final year of his contract.
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  • That wasn’t pleasant: The Twins (18-14) had won 14 of 17 games before the AL-West leading Houston Astros swept host Minnesota in a three-game series this week at Target Field. The Twins are now 3-3 on a nine-game homestand that will conclude this week against the Cleveland Guardians. The Twins remain in first place in the AL Central. Their next six series (21 games) are against Cleveland (15-15), at Oakland (14-19), at Kansas City (10-18), against Detroit (9-23), against Kansas City and at Detroit. The Astros have won 10 in a row and outscored the Twins 21-3 in the series.
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