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.
- O’Connell and his coaching staff will conduct a two-day minicamp starting Friday, as rookies and tryout players take the field at TCO Performance Center. The Vikings will open Organized Team Activities on Monday and the three-day mandatory minicamp for all players will be June 7-9.
- The Vikings announced they have agreed to terms with five of their 10 draft picks, signing first-round safety Lewis Cine; fifth-round defensive end Esezi Otomewo; fifth-round running back Ty Chandler; sixth-round wide receiver Jalen Nailor; and seventh-round tight end Nick Muse.
- The Vikings will begin their home season against the Green Bay Packers for the third time in seven seasons since U.S. Bank Stadium opened. The Week 1 game will kickoff at 3:25 p.m. on FOX. The Vikings beat the Packers, 17-14, in Week 2 in their first-ever game in the stadium, and lost to Green Bay, 43-34, in Week 1 in 2020. There were no fans for that game because of the pandemic. The Vikings are 5-1 in home openers since moving into their new stadium.
- The Twins have yet to announce whether early-season pitching acquisition Chris Paddack will undergo Tommy John surgery for the second time since 2016, but it certainly seems headed that way after the righthanded starter was transferred to the 60-day injured list on Thursday because of what’s being described as right elbow inflammation. If Paddack has the surgery, he likely won’t be back until late next season.
- 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.
- Sachin Gupta, who took over control of the Timberwolves last September after President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas was fired, received one first-place vote in voting for NBA Executive of the Year. Gupta continues to have the title of executive vice president of basketball operations and it’s unclear if he will be promoted this offseason, or if the Wolves will look elsewhere for Rosas’ replacement. Scoopmaster Darren “Doogie” Wolfson of SKOR North and KSTP-TV reports the Wolves plan to conduct a search. One has to think if Gupta doesn’t get the job, that he will look elsewhere.
- 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.
- The Astros are no stranger to beating up on the Twins at Target Field. Houston outscored the Twins, 40-16, in a three-game series in May 2017. The Astros had 16 runs in the first game and 17 in the finale.