Patrick Brown won’t be hitting the market on March 13th when free agency begins. On Wednesday the Vikings brought back the soon-to-be exclusive rights FA, signing him to a one-year deal worth $540,000. Brown, an undrafted player out of Florida State, was a practice squad staple for two years before cracking the roster in 2011.
This move probably wouldn’t bear much mentioning were it not that Brown plays offensive tackle, a position that’s on every fan’s mind these days. It’s long been assumed that Charlie Johnson will not be continuing as the starting left tackle after struggling mightily in pass protection in 2011. Most expect the Vikes to draft Johnson’s replacement, probably with their #3 overall pick. Matt Kalil and Riley Reiff are the two names most often mentioned.
Pencil in Patrick Brown as one of the competitors for a back-up spot behind the new left tackle and/or presumptive starting right tackle Phil Loadholt. 2011 draft pick DeMarcus Love also finds himself in this mix. Charlie Johnson is likely to slide over to left guard once the Vikings part ways with Steve Hutchinson who ended 2011 on IR with a concussion and has the kind of large cap number that makes him a prime candidate to be cut.
For those keeping score at home, the Brown signing leaves the Vikings with 17 free agents. The updated roster, reflecting the Brown signing, is available on Vikings.com.