The Minnesota Vikings are reportedly set to sign Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Harrison Phillips as their first move in free agency.
According to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo, Phillips will sign a three-year deal with Minnesota worth $19.5 million. The 26-year-old had 51 total tackles and one sack with the Bills last season and finished 15th in overall Pro Football Focus grade among qualifying defensive tackles.
At 6-foot-3 and 306 pounds, Phillips should be a fit for the Vikings' transition to a 3-4 scheme. But it also creates a log jam at the nose tackle position.
Phillips' signing marks the third straight season where the Vikings have opened free agency by signing a nose tackle. Michael Pierce signed a three-year, $27 million deal in 2020 and Dalvin Tomlinson signed a two-year, $21 million contract last offseason.
Neither signing has panned out for the Vikings. Pierce opted out of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic and played in just eight games last season due to a biceps injury. Tomlinson played in 16 games for the Vikings but managed just 39 total tackles and 2.5 sacks while playing only 641 snaps per PFF.
With the Vikings $2.4 million over the salary cap, it appears they will have to make a decision between Tomlinson and Pierce. With Tomlinson's contract carrying a $7.5 million cap hit, it's more likely the Vikings will try to trade or release Pierce, which would create $6.2 million in cap savings.
Phillips's signing has been the Vikings' lone move so far in free agency. Minnesota lost a pair of free agents earlier in the day when Xavier Woods signed with the Panthers and Mason Cole signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Vikings also struck out on the premier offensive linemen in this class. Brandon Scherff (Jaguars), Laken Tomlinson (Jets), Rodger Saffold (Bills) and Austin Corbett (Panthers) all found new homes on Monday, leaving the Vikings to look elsewhere to find help in the trenches.
With the first day of free agency in the books and the decision to extend Kirk Cousins, the Vikings' offseason already has a familiar feel to it.