Vikings sign Hill as backup QB
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings wasted no time making sure Shaun Hill would be Teddy Bridgewater's backup. Minnesota reached agreement Tuesday on a two-year, $6.5 million contract with the quarterback on the first day of free agency. Hill, 3...
MINNEAPOLIS - The Minnesota Vikings wasted no time making sure Shaun Hill would be Teddy Bridgewater’s backup.
Minnesota reached agreement Tuesday on a two-year, $6.5 million contract with the quarterback on the first day of free agency.
Hill, 35, played last season for St. Louis and returns to Minnesota, where he began his NFL career from 2002-05. The Vikings had made their intentions known on wanting Hill when the period began of team officials being able to call representatives of free agents. Vikings executive Rob Brzezinski then had called Hill’s agent.
Also Tuesday, the Vikings re-signed guard Joe Berger to a two-year contract and officially re-signed restricted free-agent running back Matt Asiata to a one-year deal after he had agreed to terms Monday. It was important to lock up Asiata because there remains uncertainty whether star running back Adrian Peterson will return to the team.
The Vikings confirmed Peterson met Monday in New York with owners Zygi and Mark Wilf and general manager Rick Spielman. It’s the second known meeting the Vikings have had in the past week with Peterson, who missed 15 games last season because of a child-abuse incident and has expressed reservations about returning because of a belief some in the organization didn’t do enough to get him back on the field in 2014.
Peterson remains under contract. But the Vikings did Tuesday lose starting fullback Jerome Felton, who agreed to a deal with Buffalo after having last month opted out of his contract.
Other than the Peterson situation, the foremost concern lately for the Vikings has been making sure they had a backup quarterback in place. Minnesota’s trade of Matt Cassel to Buffalo became official Tuesday, and Christian Ponder’s Vikings tenure came to an official end.
Cassel’s cap number is $4.75 million, so the Vikings will save about $1.5 million and get a draft pick for instead making Hill the backup. They get a player who spent 2006 with San Francisco when current Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner held that role with the 49ers.
A source said Hill’s knowledge of and ability to fit into Turner’s system played a key role in the move. He also welcomes returning to Minnesota.
“I know he’s always liked the Vikings,’’ said Charles Nally, Hill’s coach at Parsons (Kan.) High School who is now retired.
Hill got into only one regular-season game in four seasons in Minnesota. He then was with the 49ers for four years, Detroit for four and with the Rams last season, when he started eight games and threw for 1,657 yards and eight touchdowns.
“He’s got the right temperament (as a mentor for Bridgewater),’’ Nally said. “He’s been around some great young quarterbacks. He’s worked with Alex Smith (in San Francisco), he’s worked with Daunte Culpepper (in Minnesota) and with (Matt) Stafford in Detroit.’’
The Vikings also are looking in free agency to beef up their offensive line, namely replacing starting left guard Charlie Johnson, who was recently released. Bengals.com reported Tuesday that Cincinnati is close to re-signing highly rated guard Clint Boling, whom his trainer had said Monday had “a lot of interest in the Vikings.’’
If Boling is out of the picture and the Vikings don’t land a long-term answer at left guard, they at least have Berger returning for a fifth Minnesota season. Because of injuries, Berger started nine games last year before becoming a free agent.
“He is well compensated,’’ said Berger’s agent, Thomas Tafelski. “He’s compensated if he remains (a reserve) and he’ll be compensated if he starts. He’s happy to be in Minnesota. He thinks it’s a great place, a great sports town and a great place to raise a family. He got his contract and he’s out hunting (Tuesday in his native Michigan) and having a good old time with his son.’’
Tafelski wouldn’t give any details on Berger’s contract other than it being partially guaranteed over the two years. Berger, 32, made $855,000 last season.
A source said the Vikings also are honing in on free-agent linebacker Andrew Gachkar and a deal could be signed later this week. Gachkar who played the past four years, with San Diego, is expected to visit Minnesota on Wednesday or Thursday and expectations are a deal being finalized then.
The Vikings on Tuesday also gave a tender for $1.542 million to keep tackle Mike Harris a restricted free agent, but the sides are trying to work out a deal paying him less for next season. Minnesota did not tender exclusive rights free-agent linebacker Dom DeCicco and guard Josh Samuda, who both are now unrestricted free agents.