With a week remaining until the start of the new league year, the Vikings have released offensive tackle Riley Reiff. The move saves the Vikings $11.75 million in cap space, but it has also created a hole on Minnesota's offensive line.
The 23rd overall pick in the 2012 draft, the 32-year-old Reiff spent the past four years with the Vikings after playing five seasons in Detroit. Reiff, who has experience at both tackle spots, has 127 starts in 135 regular-season games. Last season, Reiff helped Dalvin Cook finish second in the NFL with 1,557 rushing yards.
"I love the kid. He's a tough, physical guy," Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said of Reiff at the end of last season. "He's a pro's pro. Comes out and works every single day. He's had a really good year. He's a big-time battler; he'll fight you all day long, so he's really everything you want in an offensive lineman."
Ezra Cleveland, a 2020 second-round pick who made nine starts at right guard last season, could be asked to replace Reiff at left tackle. Reiff clearly made an impact on Cleveland during their lone season together in Minnesota.
"Riley hits the weight room hard every day," Cleveland said near the end of the 2020 season. "He shows up and works and puts his heart and soul into his work. It's just a great thing to see [from] a guy in his ninth year.
"He's been [in the NFL] so long and he still shows up to work and works his hardest and doesn't whine or cry or anything. He just puts his nose down and goes to work," Cleveland added. "That's one thing I really try to model my game after – I try to stay quiet and do the work. It's just cool to see a vet doing that as well."