The Minnesota Vikings are getting started in free agency with the re-signing of their own, as they said would be their primary focus.
In addition to officially re-signing safety Andrew Sendejo to a four-year deal worth a reported $16 million, they have locked up a couple of their of their exclusive-rights free agents – WR Adam Thielen and OT Carter Bykowski – and tendered an offer to restricted free-agent fullback Zach Line.
Sendejo agreed to terms late last week and told KFAN Monday morning he expects to start while admitting nothing is guaranteed. The Vikings reportedly reached out to unrestricted free-agent safety George Iloka on Monday at the start of the negotiating period. Iloka played under Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer when he was the defensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals before coming to Minnesota in 2014.
The Vikings announced the other signings on Monday.
Thielen was a big player on special teams and contributed sparingly on offense, producing 12 catches for 144 yards. He tied for second on the team with 10 tackles on special teams.
Bykowski, a backup offensive tackle, was placed on injured reserve during the 2015 preseason after suffering an injury, but he might have gotten some playing time otherwise with all the other injuries the Vikings suffered on the offensive line. General manager Rick Spielman has trumpeted Bykowski’s value for depth on the offensive line over of the last year.
Line moved into a full-time role on offense in 2015 as Adrian Peterson’s primary blocker, and by offering him a tender the Vikings hold the right of first refusal for any other offers he would receive.
The Vikings also reportedly restructured the contract of Phil Loadholt, who was scheduled to count $7.75 million against the salary cap. According to KSTP’s Darren Wolfson, Loadholt will count only $2 million against the cap with the chance to earn more in incentives.