The Vikings knew they needed to upgrade their offensive line, and tried to make a big deal.
At least, until someone else made another one.
Writers Andrew Krammer and Ben Goessling said during a Minneapolis Star Tribune podcast that the Vikings were hoping to turn defensive end Everson Griffen into Browns guard Kevin Zeitler, until the Browns folded him into the bigger deal with the Giants that netted Olivier Vernon and Odell Beckham Jr.
“With Everson Griffen, you brought him up, I had heard this offseason that they tried to go after Kevin Zeitler with Everson Griffen, and that’s around the same time that the Giants decided to offer up, and probably for a while had been talking about giving up Olivier Vernon,” Krammer said. “So that was a defensive end for a guard swap that the Vikings were well-positioned to make, but couldn’t. But if you’re the Vikings, that would have been a steal. I have heard they tried to do that, but it fell apart when the Browns decided to send him to New York.”
Like the Vernon deal, trading Griffen for Zeitler would have been a swap of big contracts.
Griffen has since restructured his deal with the Vikings, but it’s interesting that they were trying to move him, after he missed five games last year for personal reasons and had just 5.5 sacks.
The Vikings eventually signed former Titans and Patriots guard Josh Kline, though that’s not the same level of upgrade Zeitler would have been.