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Lunchbreak: A Look at Free Agency Across the League

The Vikings thus far have bolstered their offensive line through the signing of tackles Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers since free agency opened Thursday afternoon. 

Several teams throughout the NFL have been active over the past four days, and Mark Craig of the Star Tribune *took a look at some of the noticeable moves up to this point* **outside of Minnesota. Craig pegged the Patriots as the overall most successful team out of the gate. He wrote:

In the first two days of free agency, the Patriots signed Bills cornerback Stephen Gilmore and traded for Colts tight end Dwayne Allen, Saints receiver Brandin Cooks and Panthers linebacker Kony Ealy. Why would [Patriots Head Coach] Bill Belichick, who turns 65 on April 16, ever retire when he's the living antidote to parity in the NFL? The greatest got better this week.

Craig called Cleveland's trade for Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler the "most bizarre" move of free agency, and he opined that former Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon, acquired by the Bears, is the most overpaid pickup.

According to Craig, the Giants signing of receiver Brandon Marshall has been the best move.

It's the perfect fit schematically and intangibly for a point-starved offense and a great talent who's hungry, happy and finally humbled because he knows his QB carries more clout than he does. Marshall, Odell Beckham and Sterling Shepard together in New York's three-receiver sets will be something to watch.

The Vikings are scheduled to see Glennon twice in 2017 but aren't scheduled to face the Patriots or the Giants during the regular season.

A rewind look at Riley Reiff

The Vikings went less than a week without a South Dakota native and Iowa Hawkeye standout on their roster.

Linebacker Chad Greenway officially retired Tuesday after 11 seasons in Purple, and on Friday the Vikings announced their signing of Reiff, who joins the Vikings after five seasons with the rival Lions.

The Argus Leader's Stu Whitney recently re-posted a story from 2012 about Reiff's blue-collar background and journey to the NFL, including a draft story similar to Greenway's. Whitney wrote:

Reiff, meanwhile, was mingling outside his grandparents' rural outpost in Parkston when the Lions made him the 23rd pick, and that's just the way he wanted it.


Leading up to the draft, Reiff's private nature and reticence with the media became a story in itself. He announced that he would not attend the draft in New York City and then declined ESPN's request to have cameras on draft night in Parkston.

Whitney wrote about Reiff's background in wrestling, a sport in which he eventually excelled thanks to the coaching of his father, Tom, at Parkston High School.

"He has two younger brothers, so there were a lot of takedowns in our living room," Reiff's father, Tom, told Whitney. "The first year he started competing, he lost nearly all of his AAU matches, but he didn't really care. The next year, he came out and hardly lost a match. That's the attitude he has."

In football, Reiff started out on the defensive side of the ball, becoming a feared defensive end in high school.

He was ranked 28th nationally among senior strongside defensive ends and also played some tight end. But he was seen by college scouts as an offensive lineman because his growing size hadn't stunted his athleticism.

"We don't see him as a developmental player," said [former Lions Head Coach Jim Schwartz] in 2012. "We see him as a guy that has the possibility of playing pretty soon for us."

That's exactly what happened. Reiff played all 16 games, starting eight of them, for Detroit as a rookie, and he became a full-time starter in 2013. Over five seasons, he's missed only three games and has experience both at right and left tackle.

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