Mike Dinovo/USA TODAY

Versatile Minnesota Vikings tackle Riley Reiff will do ‘whatever the coaches want’

The Minnesota Vikings have themselves a new offensive tackle that has played both sides of the line and is willing to play wherever the Vikings want.

With Matt Kalil gone for Carolina, the Minnesota Vikings were quick to sign former Detroit Lions tackle Riley Reiff, but the question becomes whether he will play left tackle or right tackle.

Chances are he’s in line for a return to the left tackle after playing there for four years in Detroit before they drafted Taylor Decker and moved Reiff to the right side.

“I come in here and I’ll do whatever the coaches want,” Reiff said Friday in a conference call with reporters after signing his contract. “I came from a good system at Iowa and they taught us to be ready at any position. I’m just happy to be here and ready to meet the guys and get to work.”

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Reiff was the 23rd overall pick by the Lions in 2012, playing in 77 games and making 69 starts – 48 at left tackle, 14 last year at right tackle and seven at tight end.

Reiff was one of the top tackles available in free agency, along with Andrew Whitworth, Russell Okung, Ricky Wagner and Kalil, and they were all quickly scooped up in the opening six hours of free agency after the NFL worked through its three-day negotiating period.

“It was quite flattering to have a bunch of interest,” Reiff said, declining to name the other teams interested in him.

“It’s been kind of a hectic last few days. I’m excited to be up here, that’s for sure. Being from South Dakota, it’s close. I always watched the Vikings growing up. They’ve got a great tradition and I’m excited about the hunting and fishing up here, too.”

The Vikings could use a quality starting tackle after losing both of their starting tackles, Kalil and Andre Smith, within the first four weeks of the 2016 season. Neither of them is on the team this year.

Reiff grew up in Parkston, S.D., about 35 miles away from the hometown of just-retired Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway. Although they were close in proximity, Reiff, who played 11-man football, never played against Greenway’s high school team, which played nine-man.

Still, they have kept in contact and Greenway called Reiff Thursday night after news got out of him agreeing to terms with the Vikings.

“I’ve always followed Chad and I’ve admired his work. I kind of keep in touch with him and try to take any advice I can from him,” Reiff said. “I’m awful proud to be from South Dakota, too.”

Reiff’s father, Tom, grew up a Raiders fans and so did Riley after hearing all the stories from his dad and their mailman, another Raiders fans. Riley said he got “brainwashed” into becoming a Raiders fan.

His mother, Jo, however, is a Vikings fan.

“My mom was a Vikings fan,” Reiff said. “Being in South Dakota, [Vikings and Raiders] were the games on Sundays and it was always turned on and she was always cheering for the Vikings.”


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