4 recent departures the Minnesota Vikings will miss most in 2021

(Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) Kyle Rudolph
(Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) Kyle Rudolph /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) Riley Reiff /

Riley Reiff – OT

Despite Riley Reiff’s performances being of a high standard last season, the Vikings had no option other than to release the offensive lineman due to the financial savings involved. This has been put to excellent use in free agency and the player didn’t have to wait long for another offer from elsewhere once the negotiating period got underway.

Reiff signed a deal with the Cincinnati Bengals and will be tasked with keeping the pocket clean for star quarterback Joe Burrow. He gave up just one sack and conceded a single penalty from more than 1,000 snaps in 2020 for the Vikings, earning the former first-round selection a creditable 71.4 grade from Pro Football Focus as a result of his efforts.

Of all the veterans released by Minnesota this offseason, Reiff was the one they’d have kept around had the salary cap allowed. His tandem with stud right tackle Brian O’Neill was one of the more pleasing aspects that emerged from the campaign, and not having an experienced blindside protector might end up hurting their chances of postseason football once again.

All this will depend on how Christian Darrisaw transitions to the next level.

Minnesota got a potential steal when they selected the Virginia Tech prospect after trading down in the first round. Although it’s going to be a baptism of fire for Darrisaw, he enters the NFL with the highest of ceilings.