Could Vikings tackle Riley Reiff be a surprise cut this year?

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) Riley Reiff
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) Riley Reiff /

There is a possibility that the Minnesota Vikings may decide they’re better off without the veteran offensive tackle when they select players for their final 2019 roster.

Last season was not one that was filled with many pleasant moments for Minnesota Vikings left tackle Riley Reiff.

In his second year with the Vikings, Reiff was one of the many underwhelming performers on a lackluster Minnesota offensive line. Way too many times in 2018, he struggled to keep opposing pass rushers out of the face of Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins.

For the upcoming season, Reiff is carrying a salary cap hit of $11.7 million. That is a pretty hefty number for a guy who performed at a very average level in 2018.

Interestingly enough, releasing Reiff after June 1 will create over $9 million in cap space for Minnesota this year. For a team like the Vikings who are searching for ways to increase their salary cap space before the start of the 2019 season, them letting go of the veteran offensive tackle is a possibility that shouldn’t be ruled out.

Bleacher Report’s Brad Gagnon is one who actually believes Reiff may be Minnesota’s surprise cut this year.

Gagnon references the cap savings the Vikings would acquire as one reason to let the veteran go before the start of the season. And he also mentions the possibility of Minnesota releasing Reiff this year if some of the team’s young offensive lineman look impressive during training camp and the preseason this summer.

Even though it’s something that would result in the Vikings freeing up a lot of much-needed cap space, releasing the veteran blocker would definitely be a risky move.

Reiff is certainly not an elite NFL left tackle, but he’s the best option Minnesota currently has. If the Vikings were to let him go before the 2019 season, it could be something that ends up creating even more problems than what they already had.

If Minnesota decided to cut Reiff, Brian O’Neill would likely switch over to the left side and there’s no guarantee that he would perform well in the new role. Other than O’Neill, the Vikings don’t really have a ton of other candidates who could even perform at a decent level as the team’s starting left tackle.

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If Minnesota had a solid option behind Reiff, then cutting him would be a real possibility. But since they don’t, the Vikings will likely open the 2019 season with the same starting left tackle that they have had for the past two years.