The Minnesota Vikings just garnered interest from a player who could be the keystone to solving the Vikings’ perennial offensive line woes.
SKOR North’s Judd Zulgad reported February 28 that veteran right guard Brandon Scherff “would welcome the opportunity to sign with the Vikings,” per Zulgad’s podcast partner Phil Mackey.
Scherff, who’s made five Pro Bowls in his seven-year career and earned All-Pro honors in 2020, has several ties to the Vikings that may point to Scherff taking less money to make Minnesota his new home.
However, he is garnering interest elsewhere in the NFL.
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Scherff Wants to Play Closer to Home
A Denison, Iowa native, Scherff played college football for the Hawkeyes and “would like to play closer to home,” Zulgad reported.
A fifth-round pick in the 2015 draft by Washington, Scherff protected Kirk Cousins for three seasons with the Commanders before Cousins joined the Vikings. Scherff could take a similar route, but Minnesota will need to clear cap space to make it happen.
The Vikings are currently $16 million over the salary cap, per OverTheCap, and need to start creating cap space before the start of the 2022 league year on March 16. Scherff was franchise-tagged the past two seasons, earning $15 million in 2020 and $18 million in 2021.
Scherff was hampered by MCL injuries over the past two years and has been injury-prone, playing 11, 13, and 11 games over the past three seasons. He proved effective in 11 games last season by not allowing a single sack and earning a 73.6 offensive grade as the 13th ranked guard that played at least 20% of offensive snaps by Pro Football Focus (PFF).
Scherff hasn’t played an entire season since 2016, but the Vikings may be able to get him for a discount for that reason. Sportrac estimates Scherff to garner a three-year deal worth $38.9 million, making him the sixth-highest paid guard at an average annual value of $12.9 million.
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Scherff Could Provide Veteran Experience to Youthful O-Line
Minnesota has poured plenty of investment into the offensive line over the years.
The Vikings have spent first-round picks in left tackle Christian Darrisaw (No. 23, 2021) and center Garrett Bradbury (No. 18, 2019) and second-rounders on right tackle Brian O’Neill (No. 62, 2018) and left guard Ezra Cleveland (No. 58, 2020).
However, Minnesota has lacked a veteran presence in the offensive line group since parting ways with Riley Reiff. The offensive line has come along in recent years, but the maturation process has been a slow simmer instead of a rolling boil.
Scherff could provide immediate relief in the offensive interior where Minnesota struggled with Oli Udoh at right guard. Scherff could also provide veteran leadership and help develop 2021 second-round pick Wyatt Davis, who many analysts had as a first-round talent but has since been hampered by injury.
There’s also the prospect of Scherff staying long-term, and, if Bradbury does not pan out in the final guaranteed year of his rookie deal, Davis could take the reigns at center.