Brandon Fusco was, at one time, considered a promising offensive lineman. In 2014, the Vikings signed him to a 5-year, $24.25 million extension, expecting him to develop into an elite level guard. Unfortunately for Fusco, he was placed on injured reserve shortly after signing his extension and watched most of the 2014 season from the sideline.
Coming into the 2015 season, Fusco was moved to left guard after playing right guard his first four seasons in the NFL. While some thought a move to the opposite side of the offensive line should have been relatively easy, Fusco’s Pro Football Focus grade of 61.6 would suggest otherwise (44th ranked guard). The Vikings brought in Alex Boone this offseason to play left guard, which moves Fusco back to the right side to compete with incumbent Mike Harris.
If Fusco can’t beat out Harris, the Vikings may decide to trade him for two reasons.
The first would be his cap hit, which is currently $4.05 million ($2.4 million guaranteed). Releasing Fusco would result in a savings of just over $1.6 million.
The second reason would be the depth along the interior of the offensive line. With John Sullivan coming back, Joe Berger will likely move back to his role of primary backup. With Berger able to play all three inside positions, the loser of the Mike Harris / Brandon Fusco battle will be fifth in line for three starting spots.
The Vikings also have some young linemen who they have high hopes for, as Isame Faciane, Zac Kerin, Nick Easton, Jeremiah Sirles, and even Willie Beavers (who is listed as a tackle on the Vikings’ official website, but will likely move to guard) will all be competing for playing time.
Next: Mike Harris