It has been quite awhile since the Minnesota Vikings felt the need to use a franchise tag on a player in order to keep them from signing with another team during the offseason.
When looking at a few of their expected free-agents this year, there are some who have wondered if the Minnesota Vikings will actually decide to use their franchise tag this offseason.
Linebacker Anthony Barr and defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson seem like the only two logical candidates that the Vikings would consider tagging this year. However, the cost of using the franchise tag on either Barr or Richardson would end up costing Minnesota quite a bit of money in 2019 (over $15 million).
With the Vikings currently not having a ton of salary cap space, them using their franchise tag this offseason doesn’t really seem very likely.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise though if Minnesota opts to not tag a player this year since they’ve never really been known as a team that takes advantage of this option. During the previous 25 NFL offseasons in which the franchise tag has existed, the Vikings have only utilized it twice.
The last time Minnesota decided to actually tag a player, Mike Zimmer was busy being the defensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals.
Back during the 2011 offseason, the Vikings wanted to make sure that linebacker Chad Greenway didn’t land elsewhere, so they slapped him with a non-exclusive franchise tag. Since Minnesota opted to use the non-exclusive tag, Greenway was still able to negotiate with other teams if he wanted.
A few months later though, the Vikings and their veteran linebacker actually agreed to a new five-year, $41 million contract. Greenway ended up remaining in Minnesota for his entire NFL career before he decided to retire in 2017.
Before 2011, the only other time the Vikings used their franchise tag was in 2003 when they placed it on tight end Jim Kleinsasser.
This is not something that occurs often in Minnesota, so don’t be placing any serious bets on it happening this offseason.