Here’s an interesting rumor: According to Sean Jensen – Bears reporter who still has a lot of Minnesota contacts from his days with the Pioneer-Press – the Vikings have an interest in Saints offensive tackle Jermon Bushrod. Offensive tackle was not believed to be a position the Vikings would target heavily going into free agency so this has to make us wonder what is up with the current tackles on the roster.
It’s already been suggested that the Vikings could be looking at Bushrod as a replacement for Bryant McKinnie, who despite a Pro Bowl selection two years ago has always been viewed as an underachiever, but unless you could get Bushrod for significantly less than you would have to pay McKinnie in 2011 ($4.9 million) the move doesn’t make a lot of sense. At best Bushrod would be a slight upgrade over McKinnie, and there are many who will argue he would be a downgrade.
So I’m going to guess McKinnie is in no trouble. If the Vikings are looking at Bushrod it would more likely be as a replacement for right tackle Phil Loadholt who regressed severely in 2010 after showing promise in 2009. Bushrod played left tackle for the Saints the last couple of years but before that he did get in some time at right tackle. Now that they’ve traded for and signed Donovan McNabb, the Vikings must surely be looking at upgrading their pass protection, which in 2010 hovered between spotty and terrible. Bushrod would be an upgrade over Loadholt – but the problem is, he’s on the market as a left tackle, which inflates his asking price. Giving left tackle money to a right tackle would not make a lot of sense either, unless you ultimately planned on shifting Bushrod to the left side.
If the Vikings do sign Bushrod, it appears they’ll have to outbid the Bears for his services. The Vikings may also be involved in something of a bidding war with the Bears over Malcom Floyd who many see as a good replacement for Sidney Rice. The Vikes and Bears haven’t played a game yet this year but they’re already tussling. Gotta like it.
Update: The Bushrod watch did not last long. The Saints have already re-signed him to a two-year contract. Not sure what to make of reported Viking interest in Bushrod. Does it mean they’re looking to dump Bryant McKinnie? Have they lost faith in Phil Loadholt? Maybe something else will develop now.