If his name sounds familiar to Vikings fans, it should. He was with the team the final month of the 2013 season after being claimed off waivers from the San Diego Chargers. But, this time around, he has something he’s never had in his career – a long-term deal and financial security after signing a five-year, $30 million contract.
His journey in the NFL has been one that has forced him to keep his bags packed. An undrafted free agent in 2012, he signed with Denver, only to be among the final cuts. Tampa Bay picked up and had him on their practice squad in 2012 and the start of 2013. He was hopping the country as other teams had injury-related needs and Remmers got the call.
He was claimed off the Buccaneers practice squad in October 2013 by San Diego and remained with the Chargers for six weeks before being released. The Vikings claimed him off waivers and he spent the final month of the season on the Vikings’ 53-man roster.
He then went to St. Louis, where he made the practice squad, but got his big break when the Carolina Panthers claimed him due to offensive line injuries and pushed him into the starting lineup. He was an immediate fit and became a full-time starter, including the 15-1 2015 season that saw Carolina go to the Super Bowl.
He thinks his skill level and experience are a far cry from the player who first came to Minnesota as an emergency fill-in in 2013.
“I have developed a lot more since then,” Remmers said. “I think just this crazy ride it’s been for me has really helped me develop to be the person and the player I am today. I’m looking forward to playing here and continuing to grow and develop and be the best player I can be.”
After having a strong 2015 season and solidifying his place as Carolina’s right tackle, a concussion to left tackle Michael Oher forced Remmers to move to left tackle last season.
He had some struggles to adapt, but felt that experience made him focus more on the basics of footwork and hand placement and to improve his overall game. He is happy to be back at his natural position on the right side with Riley Reiff expected to start at left tackle, but the learning experience he had on the left side has made him a better all-around player.
“Last year, I kind of got thrown in the fire a little bit going in at left tackle,” Remmers said. “I felt I learned a lot about my technique playing left. It helped me continue to grow and be able to make that switch. But, I’m very excited to be back playing at right tackle.”
The player the Vikings are getting this time around is vastly different player than the one who rolled into Minnesota four years earlier. As a starter over the two-plus seasons, he has built a reputation for himself and it all began when he was inserted in the Panthers’ lineup in the final month of the 2014 season.
What he learned that season carried over and something clicked for Mike & Mike – Remmers and left tackle Michael Oher – in 2015 and the rest was history and took him to the next level of play.
“The experience of going out and playing is something you can’t teach,” Remmers said. “You’ve just got to do it. This experience was a big part of it.”
It would have been easy for Remmers to get frustrated by the early portion of his NFL career. He was cut six times in his career and the Vikings will be his seventh stop in less than five years – from the time he was signed by Denver in late April 2012 to signing a $30 million deal with the Vikings Friday.
There were times he had to ask himself if a long-term football career was going to be in the cards, but, with the help of his wife Kelly and a determination to keep his NFL dream alive, it finally has paid off.
He wasn’t always sure it was coming, but said that there were keys to not letting the doubts get into his mind.
“Just staying positive all of the time,” Remmers said. “My wife has been very supportive for me. She helped me keep my head up, because there were definitely some times that I thought I was done playing football. I’m just happy and thankful to be continuing my career.”