Vikings’ moves were necessary, conservative

The Vikings made a few necessary moves on Tuesday, but none of them were splashy.

Earlier in the offseason, Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said that the Vikings were going to take a wait-and-see approach to free agency. The new season to the NFL officially started at 3 p.m. Tuesday and the Vikings waited out the high-end market but did sign two players less than an hour after the start of the new season.

The first player they signed, or rather re-signed, was offensive lineman Joe Berger. This was an important signing for the Vikings because Berger has the ability to play all three positions on the inside of the offensive line.

Berger and the Vikings agreed to a two-year deal worth $2.1 million with only $150,000 in roster and workout bonuses. His agent did say that if Berger starts he will be paid like a starter.

Last season Berger was originally a backup, but eventually took over the starting right guard position after Vladimir Ducasse struggled replacing Brandon Fusco. Berger started the final nine weeks of the regular season, and at the end of the season was given a 3.3 rating by Pro Football Focus. That made him the highest rated guard on the Vikings roster during the 2014 season.

The second player that the Vikings signed, coming just minutes after they signed Berger, was quarterback Shaun Hill. The two parties agreed to a two-year deal for $6.5 million with $500,000 in annual incentives.

Hill made a lot of sense as a quarterback the Vikings should target after they traded Matt Cassel to Buffalo. He has already played underneath offensive coordinator Norv Turner when the two were with the San Francisco 49ers in 2006. Hill also has experience playing in Minnesota, playing with the Vikings from 2002-05 at the start of his career.

Not only did it make sense to bring Hill in because of his familiarity with Minnesota and Turner’s system, but also because he should be a good backup for Teddy Bridgewater. Hill has been in the NFL for 13 seasons and he can help teach Bridgewater what it takes to be a quarterback in the league.

He has also found some success as a starter when he was forced to play if Bridgewater has a short-term injury.

Along with the two signings on Tuesday, the Vikings also submitted a qualifying one-year tender to restricted free agent offensive tackle Mike Harris with a right of first refusal. This means that the Vikings would not be compensated with a draft pick if another team signs Harris, but they will have the opportunity to match any offer.

Even though the Vikings did not make any splashy moves on the first day of the new NFL season, both their signings were important ones. Both Berger and Hill provide the Vikings with good depth at position that were lacking that at the start of Tuesday, and Berger could possibly be the team’s starting left guard.

These two signings, along with the re-signing of Tom Johnson, Cullen Loeffler and Matt Asiata, have given the Vikings a conservative start to free agency. No doubt, more is sure to come.

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