MINNEAPOLIS - The Vikings’ three free-agent quarterbacks are out of here.
According to multiple reports Tuesday, March 13, Sam Bradford will sign with the Arizona Cardinals. And CBSSports.com reported that Teddy Bridgewater is finalizing a deal with the New York Jets.
Case Keenum, Minnesota’s starter last season, agreed earlier in the day to sign a two-year, $36 million deal with the Denver Broncos on Wednesday’s first official day of free agency.
The mass exodus by the three quarterbacks is logical considering the Vikings are on the verge of signing Kirk Cousins to a three-year, $84 million contract. The Vikings have been coveting Cousins for several weeks and only regarded Keenum, Bradford and Bridgewater as options if a deal for Cousins fell through.
Bradford will sign a deal worth $20 million for 2018 with an option year for 2019. After making $18 million in 2017 and playing in just two games because of knee issues, he actually gets a raise that would bring his career earnings to $134 million for his first nine NFL seasons.
After entering the season with a 9-15 career record as a starter, Keenum went 11-3 as a starter last season for the 13-3 Vikings and led them to the NFC Championship Game. Protecting against the possibility of Keenum being just a one-year wonder, the Broncos decided to give him just a two-year deal and don’t regard him yet as their long-term starter.
Bridgewater was expected to be Minnesota’s quarterback of the future after being taken with the last pick in the first round of the 2014 draft. He was the starter in 2014 and 2015 before suffering a torn ACL in the final preseason practice of 2016, and has played in just one game since.
Following Bridgewater’s injury, the Vikings acquired Bradford from Philadelphia for first- and fourth-round picks. He started all 15 games he played in 2016 and set an NFL record with a completion percentage of 70.6.
Bridgewater might not be looked as a sure-fire starter for the Jets. On Tuesday, they also reached a deal to re-sign Josh McCown for $10 million for one year.
After all the expected signings are done, the Vikings should have two quarterbacks on the roster in Cousins and Kyle Sloter, who didn’t get into a game last season as a rookie. They are expected to add a veteran backup.
Vikings free-agent defensive tackle Tom Johnson has suitors.
As source said Oakland and Buffalo have expressed interest in Johnson since Monday’s start of the “legal tampering’’ period. The Raiders could have a leg up on those two since Johnson, who plays the three-technique spot, could fit in well with their scheme.
It remains be seen how hard the Vikings will look to retain Johnson, who made $2.35 million last season. They turned down his request last summer for a one-year, $4 million extension.
The source said Johnson, 33, is seeking a two-year deal for the most money he can get.
With the Vikings on the verge of signing Cousins to a huge deal, a source said they might look to trim salary with some players on their roster.
The Vikings could approach running back Latavius Murray, on the books to make a base salary of $5.15 million in 2018, and ask him to restructure his contract or be cut. The same could be done for defensive end Brian Robison, on the books for a base salary of $3.2 million.
After restructuring his contract last year, Robison said he wanted to play two more years with the Vikings and likely retire after the 2018 season. After last season, Robison was noncommittal about his future. He declined comment on this week on whether he is hopeful of playing in 2018.Briefly
Minnesota has expressed preliminary interest in Tampa Bay free-agent guard Kevin Pamphile. The Vikings are still sorting out what they want to do with the offensive line, but a source said a top priority is re-signing free-agent guard Joe Berger.
A source expects tight end Blake Bell, recovering from shoulder surgery in December, to be ready on a limited basis for the April 16 start of spring drills.
A source said Philadelphia free-agent defensive tackle Beau Allen, a Minnetonka, Minn., native, has received interest from Detroit and Tampa Bay but the Vikings did not reach out early in free agency.