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Vikings release left tackle Riley Reiff

32-year-old will be a free agent

Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Riley Reiff (71) stretches out with teammates prior to a game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Matt Gade / Forum News Service
Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Riley Reiff (71) stretches out with teammates prior to a game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Matt Gade / Forum News Service

The Minnesota Vikings announced Wednesday they have released left tackle and Parkston, South Dakota native Riley Reiff.

Reiff, 32, became a salary cap casualty for the Vikings, who have to get under the salary cap prior to the opening of free agency. According to reports, the move will save the team approximately $11 million in salary-cap space for the 2021 season.

Reiff restructured his contract prior to the 2020 season to stay with the Vikings, and played 15 of the 16 games, missing the final game of the season on the team's COVID-19 reserve list.

The move leaves the Vikings with a large hole at left tackle, especially after Reiff had one of his strongest seasons as a Viking in 2020. He was solid in pass blocking and helped the Vikings average 393 yards of offense per game, fourth-most in the NFL, and the fifth-best rushing offense in the league. He was also a team captain in all four seasons for the Vikings.

Before the 2020 season, he agreed for his base salary to be cut from $10.9 million to $5.9 million, and had a $1 million snap count bonus available at the end of the season. He narrowly missed hitting that benchmark, but the Vikings later paid out that bonus anyway.

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He played 58 games for the Vikings, all at left tackle, over the last four seasons.

"I love the kid. He's a tough, physical guy," Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said of Reiff at the end of the 2020 season, according to the team's website. "He's a pro's pro. Comes out and works every single day. He's had a really good year. He's a big-time battler; he'll fight you all day long, so he's really everything you want in an offensive lineman."

Reiff's 2021 season will be his 10th season in the league. He entered the NFL in 2012 as the No. 23 overall pick by Detroit out of the University of Iowa.

Ezra Cleveland, who started nine games as rookie for the Vikings at right tackle, could move to the left tackle position, but it's likely the Vikings will also address the position in the NFL Draft.

"He's been [in the NFL] so long and he still shows up to work and works his hardest and doesn't whine or cry or anything. He just puts his nose down and goes to work," Cleveland said of Reiff in December, according to Vikings.com. "That's one thing I really try to model my game after – I try to stay quiet and do the work. It's just cool to see a vet doing that as well."

Traxler is the assistant editor and sports editor for the Mitchell Republic. He's worked for the newspaper since 2014 and has covered a wide variety of topics. He can be reached at mtraxler@mitchellrepublic.com.
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