Vikings Urged to Sign Ex-Packers’ Lineman to Replace Former Top Pick

Garrett Bradbury, Minnesota Vikings

Getty C.J. Ham #30 of the Minnesota Vikings is congratulated by teammate Garrett Bradbury #56 after Hamm scored a touchdown in the third quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at U.S. Bank Stadium on December 6, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

The Minnesota Vikings have a chance to be one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL this season and some help along the line would go a long way toward achieving that goal.

The franchise has been named among the top landing spots for J.C. Tretter, a player who Alex Ballentine of Bleacher Report recently labeled the second-best free agent remaining in the 2022 offseason.

Tretter is familiar with the NFC North Division, as the Green Bay Packers selected the center in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Tretter remained with the team for three seasons before joining the Cleveland Browns, where he became a regular starter and something of an ironman.

Tretter appeared in and started 80 out of 81 possible games during his time in Cleveland, after starting just 10 times across 31 appearances for Green Bay, per Pro Football Reference.

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Tretter Pitched To Vikings as Leader, Reliable On-Field Performer

JC Tretter

Getty ImagesCenter JC Tretter, formerly of the Cleveland Browns, and guard Joel Bitonio celebrate a successful play.

The Browns’ choice to move on from Tretter was purely financial, as his release before the start of free agency in March provided the franchise with more than $8 million in salary cap savings.

Tretter built a solid reputation in Cleveland as a leader in the locker room and has served double duty as president of the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), a position to which he was recently re-elected for a second two-year term.

Ballentine on Friday, July 29, made the case for the Vikings’ acquisition of Tretter based on his reputation, reliability and stellar on-field performance over several NFL campaigns.

The fact that a center of Tretter’s quality is still available is a surprise. Last season, he was ranked seventh among all centers by Pro Football Focus (PFF). He only gave up one sack and committed just five penalties while earning a 78.7 grade from PFF.

Tretter is a strong run-blocker and elite in pass protection. He has had to have his workload managed in practices but he has played 100 percent of the offensive snaps in 16 games for each of the last six seasons.

Tretter makes too much sense for a team that either needs to replace their center or has a center who could upgrade the line by moving to guard.

Vikings’ Center Garrett Bradbury Has Struggled at Times

Garrett Bradbury

GettyCenter Garrett Bradbury of the Minnesota Vikings warms up before a preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks at U.S. Bank Stadium on August 18, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

The Vikings fit the bill of a team that could potentially use an upgrade at center.

Minnesota earlier this offseason chose not to pick up the fifth-year option on Garrett Bradbury, a former first-round selection at the position. Thus, Bradbury is entering the final year of his rookie contract with the team after what has been a tumultuous career to this point.

Bradbury has struggled mightily in pass protection over his three years in Minnesota, which is a serious concern for new general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. The GM recently lamented publicly the fact that Vikings’ starting quarterback Kirk Cousins falls short of Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes by comparison, and can use all the help he can get.

Also listed among the teams for which Tretter would be a fit were the San Francisco 49ers and the Miami Dolphins.

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