Vikings Never Returned JC Tretter’s Phone Call

Photo: Rob Leiter - Getty Images

Earlier this week, we heard reports that the Minnesota Vikings are still looking to add help on their interior offensive line. More specifically, they’d love a better center to replace Garrett Bradbury.

Yet, for whatever reason, there’s been zero reported interest in the best center on the free agency market. That’s former Cleveland Brown, JC Tretter. On Thursday morning, Tretter announced his retirement in an interview with Sports Illustrated. Not because he wanted to retire, but because nobody wanted him.

Vikings Leave Tretter on ‘Read’

Tretter told Sports Illustrated that the Minnesota Vikings were one of the few teams on his short list of potential employers. So, Tretter’s agent called the Vikings to gauge interest. When nobody at TCO Performance Center returned that phone call, he had his answer.

Tretter hit free agency intending to return for a 10th campaign before retiring. His “short list” of dream destinations was topped by the Panthers, as he has a longstanding relationship with offensive line coach James Campen; the Cowboys, “because I feel like if you’re going to play one last year, that environment would be fun”; and the Vikings, because he cheered for them as a child and “wanted to put a bow on my childhood.” But, Tretter says, none of the seven teams that his camp contacted reciprocated his interest. “Minnesota never returned our call,” he says.JC Tretter (Sports Illustrated)

Why would the Minnesota Vikings, who are desperate for an upgrade at center, leave their best upgrade option on ‘read’? JC Tretter was one of the best centers in football last year, according to PFF. And he’s been a top-tier o-lineman since joining the Browns back in 2017.

Why not JC Tretter?

But, he struggled with knee injuries throughout the 2020 and 2021 seasons. So that must have been why teams were hesitant to sign him, right? Well, Tretter whole-heartedly denies that. He claims his knee is “fully healed”. In this interview with SI, he said the knee healed itself by week 8 of the 2021 season and hasn’t needed draining since.

The teams he contacted, in free agency, never even requested an updated MRI or physical report, to check his knee. Because, according to Tretter, the radio silence had nothing to do with physical injury or the salary he was seeking. Nope. JC Tretter believes the NFL is shunning him because of his status as (a bullish) NFLPA President.

In Tretter’s estimation, finding the reason for this radio silence isn’t difficult. He describes his salary requests as modest, “not at a vet minimum” but “well below the value I bring.” He says his right knee is “fully ready” for game action, having healed itself of the swelling issue by Week 8 last season and requiring no more draining for the rest of the season. Plus, Tretter adds, no club has so much as requested an MRI or a physical to inspect it. This despite Pro Football Focus ranking him as the league’s fifth-best center entering this season.JC Tretter (via Alex Pruitt – Sports Illustrated)

There you have it. If you take JC Tretter at his word, the NFL black-balled him because of his fierce nature as NFLPA President. Meaning, the Minnesota Vikings may not have even been allowed to return JC’s original phone call. And given how desperate Kwesi is to replace Garrett Bradbury, you’d have to imagine they wanted to.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan