Vikings Can Have JC Tretter If They Want Him

Photo: Nic Antaya – Getty Images

The Minnesota Vikings have a new regime in place for 2022 but goals haven’t changed. Ownership — along with new GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and new head coach Kevin O’Connell — are trying to make the playoffs. Given the offseason front office upheaval, the Wilfs could have hit the reset button on their franchise, but decided against it.

Instead, Kirk Cousins, Adam Thielen, Harrison Smith, Patrick Peterson and Dalvin Cook are all returning. They added some pieces, most significantly Za’Darius Smith opposite of Danielle Hunter. In all reality, the (8-9) non-playoff Vikings from 2021 are running it back in 2022.

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But what if the Vikings could replace Garrett Bradbury, possibly the weakest link remaining on the roster, with a top-5 NFL center? Because, it might be our lucky offseason. Former Brown and Packer, JC Tretter, is still on the market and, according to Phil Mackey (SKOR North), he has the Minnesota Vikings on his short list of teams he’d sign with (scrub to 4:45 mark).

“I am reporting this. Just to be clear. I am entering the ‘Big J’ journalism realm for about 15 seconds, here. I am told reliably, by somebody who would know, that JC Tretter has a very short list of teams he would play for on his next contract. The Vikings are on that short list. It’s essentially up to the Vikings, whether they want to offer him a legitimate contract.”

Phil Mackey (SKOR North)

How much of an upgrade would JC Tretter be over Garrett Bradbury? Is there a big upgrade in natural light from night to day? Because, if JC Tretter is healthy enough to play, that’s how different life would be for Kirk Cousins in the pocket on Sundays (or Mondays or Thursdays). Night and day.

How much better is Tretter than Bradbury?

Tretter’s 78.7 overall PFF grade ranked 6th among NFL centers in 2021. His 83.7 pass block grade ranked 2nd. Bradbury’s 60.2 overall grade ranked 29th. His 43.7 pass block grade ranked 47th among centers. Tretter allowed 10 pressures last season, Bradbury allowed 29. JC Tretter is, and has been, one of the best interior offensive linemen in the league.

A lot has been said about JC Tretter’s injury issues. He didn’t practice at all last season. But, Tretter showed up on Sunday. He played all 18 games for the Browns in 2021 and totaled 1,039 snaps. Garrett Bradbury played just 13 games and logged 883 snaps.

Mark and Zigi Wilf hope that Mike Zimmer and Rick Spielman were holding this team back. They’re banking on Kwesi and Kevin accounting for 2+ wins over their predecessors. That’s a lot to ask.

Money Talks

If JC Tretter really wants to play for the Minnesota Vikings and he’s willing to sign a realistic contract. Can Kwesi and Co. afford him? A fully healthy Tretter in his prime is worth far north of $10 million per season on today’s market. That type of money would probably be a deal breaker.

But if JC drops his ask under $9 million per season, due to his age (31) and inability to practice because of knee injuries, then the Vikings could absolutely find a way to land him. According to Spotrac.com, Kwesi has $9.3 million in current cap space.

Eric and Brandon dug deep into the JC Tretter conversation on Thursday night’s MSF Podcast (Ep 71).

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan