The Minnesota Vikings’ choice to start Nick Easton and cut Alex Boone at the end of training camp came as a surprise to some, but over the 2017 season, the former Harvard offensive lineman proved that his team made the right decision.
On Monday, the Vikings placed a second-round tender on Easton, who is a restricted free agent, which is an indicator that they see him as a fit long term.
Easton’s value was on display following his late-season ankle fracture. The Vikings’ screen and run games were not the same without the 25-year-old interior offensive lineman. He was picked over Boone because of his athleticism and fit the Vikings’ O-line room because of his smarts and toughness.
A second-round tender means that Easton can negotiate with other teams, but the Vikings have the option to match any deal and will receive a second-round selection if they do not match. It also means that he will make $2.9 million in 2018 unless he can also work out a contract extension as Adam Thielen did with the Vikings in 2017.
Tendering Easton with a second-round compensation could be more costly but shows the Vikings’ intent to keep other teams away to offering him a deal.