In what's become a trend, the Vikings locked up one of their promising young players with a lengthy extension, this time securing offensive guard Brandon Fusco, the team announced Saturday.
“I am very excited to get this deal done and continue my career with the Minnesota Vikings," Fusco said in a statement released by the team. "I have always wanted to stay in Minnesota. The fans and support here is great. There is no place I’d rather be. I’m looking forward to the 2014 season and helping the team reach our ultimate goal – a Super Bowl championship.”
The deal is a five-year extension worth a reported $25 million, added on to the year he currently has remaining on his contract, Tom Pelissero with ESPN tweeted.
Fusco, a 24-year-old fourth-year pro, was drafted in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft out of Slippery Rock University. According to Spotrac, he made $588,000 in 2013, and was slated to make $1.45 million in 2014. He would have been a free agent after this season.
He's started all 31 games he's appeared in.
Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman called Fusco a "valued member" of the offensive line.
"Brandon is a player that has come in and done everything that we have asked," he said in the team's statement. "We strive to draft players that are not only talented but meet our criteria both on and off the field. Brandon is another example of our core group of young players that we are excited about keeping together for years to come.”
He's the youngest starter on an offensive line that already skews young. The five quarterback protectors (and their age), from left to right:
Matt Kalil (25), Charlie Johnson (30), John Sullivan (29), Fusco (24), Phil Loadholt (28).
Reports are 22-year-old rookie David Yankey has impressed the Vikings so far, and could be in line to take over Johnson's spot on the interior of the left side of the line at some point.
The general reaction to the deal seems to be, the Vikings got a good player at a good price: