FRIDAY, 12:57pm: The Vikings have officially announced their deal with Smith, confirming the signing in a press release.
THURSDAY, 11:12am: Smith’s one-year deal has a base value of $3.5MM, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.
11:05am: The Vikings continue to fortify their offensive line, with free agent tackle Andre Smith announcing today (via Twitter) that he’s heading to Minnesota, having agreed to a one-year contract with the club.
“Minneapolis here I come,” Smith tweeted. “Excited to join the great Vikings organization today on a 1-yr deal!!#SKOLVikings!!”
Smith, the sixth overall pick in the 2009 draft, has been the Bengals’ starting right tackle for the last several seasons, making 73 starts in Cincinnati since first joining the club seven years ago. Although he has been a steady performer throughout his career, the 29-year-old became expendable in Cincinnati after the Bengals used their first two picks in the 2015 draft on offensive tackles.
Smith’s new deal with the Vikings will pay him up to $4.5MM, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News. Ben Goessling of ESPN.com notes (via Twitter) that it will feature $1MM in guaranteed money, while Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports says (via Twitter) that it sounds as if other options were on the table for Smith, who “really liked” the Vikings.
Earlier this week, Smith was said to be deciding between the Vikings and Cardinals, though Arizona GM Steve Keim downplayed his team’s interest in the veteran tackle in a radio interview this morning. It’s not clear whether the Cards’ interest in Smith was overstated, or whether Keim knew at that point that the free agent would end up in Minnesota.
Having initially pursued Kelechi Osemele in free agency, the Vikings have now added two solid veterans in Smith and Alex Boone. While Boone will be penciled in as a starter at guard, Smith may have to beat out Phil Loadholt and T.J. Clemmings to win the right tackle job.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.