The latest surprise free agent is former Bills guard Richie Incognito. With many still thinking the Vikings need to upgrade the offensive guard position, should the Vikings become a player in his services?
The answer is yes.
As most know, there are some issues in Incognito’s past that make this a curious case. Back in 2013, a story dropped that Incognito bullied former teammate, Jonathan Martin. The story received a ton of attention and gave Incognito a bad rep. However, in the years since, Martin has had some mental health issues which draw to question the legitimacy of the Incognito bullying case.
The next issue was Incognito apparently using racial slurs to opposing players during games. The NFL is a diverse league, so you can understand why using such language is a bad look for both Incognito and his team. Finally, the latest issue is that he told the Bills he was retiring. They granted the retirement, and then recently Incognito said that he wanted to play again. This became an annoyance for the Bills and they decided to cut the veteran lineman. However, the kicker in all of this is that former teammates of his vouch that he has been nothing but a stand up guy and leader in the locker room.
That brings us up to speed with Incognito. With that in mind, some people may want nothing to do with Incognito being on the Vikings. But let’s take a look at his play. In 2017, he was rated the number twelve guard in football, according to Pro Football Focus. Some have said Incognito is not a good scheme fit due to the Vikings playing in a zone blocking scheme. It was definitely a different scheme in Buffalo, but Incognito has played exceptionally well in multiple scheme during his NFL tenure.
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Another reason Incognito to Minnesota has some legs is due to Tony Sparano. During Incognito’s time as a Dolphin, Sparano was the head coach. This means that Sparano has an idea of the man that Incognito is and how serious these allegations against him really are. The Vikings still seem to want to play Mike Remmers at guard, but signing Incognito allows them to play Remmers at his natural right tackle position.
In terms of potential money, it has all the making to be a short one-year deal. The Vikings have made a number of splash free agent signings. They need to now focus on extensions to their own guys. At age 34, Incognito is nearing the end of his career, but still has enough in the tank to provide at least another one or two solid years. A one-year deal in the four to five million dollar range seems reasonable. The Vikings have a number of their own players to extend soon, but they can find a way to structure extensions around a one year deal for Incognito.
Incognito would come to Minnesota with a questionable past, but there would be no denying his talent. Between Incognito, Remmers, and Riley Reiff, the Vikings would now have three nasty linemen with attitude to take over games.
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