Vikings release starting guard Josh Kline

The guard lasted one year into a three-year contract signed last offseason.
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Josh Kline

The Vikings made a surprise move on Wednesday, releasing starting guard Josh Kline one year into a three-year deal signed last offseason.

The move saves the Vikings just $1.5 million against the salary cap and leaves Minnesota with $4.4 million worth of dead money. According to the Star Tribune's Ben Goessling, the Vikings attempted to restructure his deal, but couldn't come to terms.

Kline wasn't a game-changer, but he was a solid fill in for the Vikings during his first season in Minnesota. Playing in 13 games, Kline allowed just 22 pressures (second-fewest on the starting line) earned the third-highest pass blocking grade in that group according to Pro Football Focus.

The move may also indicate that the Vikings are getting serious about their offensive line, but it's puzzling in which direction they would go for an upgrade. 

Top targets Joe Thuney and Brandon Scherff were franchise tagged by their respective teams earlier this week and Graham Glasgow signed a lucrative contract with the Denver Broncos at the beginning of free agency.

Outside of a trade, Minnesota may be making an endorsement for some of their younger offensive line players such as 2019 fourth-round pick Dru Samia, who earned some praise in Mike Zimmer's end of season press conference.

"I think we've got some young guys that basically redshirted this year that I think are going to have opportunities to be good football players," Zimmer said. "I'm hoping that becomes even more of a strength fo us next year, and we'll be looking to continually improve not just that position, but all of them."

Goessling also left the door open for a possible return at a cheaper rate, but with 13 draft picks in the wake of the Stefon Diggs trade, the Vikings have the draft capital to replace Kline in the draft as well.

Chargers sign Linval Joseph

Another former Viking found a new home on Wednesday as defensive tackle Linval Joseph signed with the Los Angeles Chargers. The deal is worth $17 million over the next two seasons.

Joseph spent six seasons with the Vikings, but his cap number of $11.7 million proved to be too rich for the team. The Vikings have now lost two of their defensive starters in free agency with Trae Waynes signing a three-year, $42 million contract with Cincinnati on Tuesday.

Vikings re-sign Sean Mannion

The Vikings were able to retain one of their own as well with Sean Mannion agreeing to a one-year deal with the team.

Mannion has played five seasons in the NFL but has just made two starts including one for the Vikings last season where he threw for 126 yards and two interceptions in a Week 17 loss to the Bears.

With Mannion returning, the Vikings will bring back their same three quarterbacks from last season including Mannion, Kirk Cousins and Jake Browning.

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