The Minnesota Vikings are reportedly showing interest in Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz, according to Cleveland.com, as the negotiating period for outside free agents commenced Monday. Schwartz will be entering into his fifth season in the NFL, meaning he is coming off his rookie contract.
The Vikings have proven in the past that they usually don’t make a lot of signings in free agency, but when they do they prefer to go for players coming off their first contract, meaning the former second-round pick is an ideal candidate for the Vikings organization to look at.
Schwartz has started all 64 games of his four-year career at right tackle, which is a position currently filled with more questions than answers for the Vikings. Phil Loadholt is coming off about a season-and-a-half of missed playing time due to injury, and T.J. Clemmings struggled a year ago filling in for Loadholt.
If the Vikings would add Schwartz to the roster, they would be strengthening up the right side of the line, which would then allow them to address their other positions of need in the draft.
The reported interest by the Vikings also has other ties other than just a position of need, as Minnesota’s offensive coordinator, Norv Turner, has experience working with Schwartz. The two were both part of the Browns organization in 2013 when Turner was the offensive coordinator.
Schwartz’s older brother Geoff was also a part of the Vikings organization as a guard for the 2012 season. He played in parts of 13 games throughout the season and helped block for running back Adrian Peterson’s MVP season.