4 questions the Vikings must answer before the 2021 NFL Draft
By Nik Edlund
Is Reiff returning for the 2021 season?
Riley Reiff was one of the biggest surprises of 2020 for the Vikings. He was almost cut prior to the start of the season. But instead, he restructured his contract and returned to the team with a more cap-friendly deal.
Reiff then played out of his head. He was a stalwart on the left side of Minnesota’s offensive line. He held his own in pass protection and he allowed just one sack the entire season.
Reiff was a beast in run blocking and he often sealed the edge so Dalvin Cook could get outside and turn on the jets for some big gainers. The Vikings’ offensive line did have their issues in 2020, but the problem wasn’t coming from the left tackle position, and Reiff made sure of that.
Reiff’s solid play creates a dilemma for Minnesota this offseason. He’s entering the final year of his deal and is set to have a $15.95 million cap hit in 2021. If anyone has earned that money it is Reiff, but the Vikings are expected to be in a tight cap situation this year and they have Ezra Cleveland on the roster, who was drafted to be the left tackle of the future.
The one thing that is heavily in Reiff’s favor of sticking around, is that Minnesota needs to get back to winning next season for Mike Zimmer to remain the team’s head coach past 2021.
With this in mind, the Vikings might decide to stick with Reiff at left tackle and keep Cleveland at right guard for one more season. Minnesota could then draft or sign a left guard in free agency and revamp their offensive line that way.
This is one solution, but the Vikings need to decide what they are going to do with their veteran left tackle before the draft in April.