Upgrading the offensive line is a top priority for the Minnesota Vikings, who began putting money toward the mantra of protecting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater on Wednesday.
The Vikings agreed to terms on a multi-year deal with offensive guard Alex Boone, a 28-year-old Ohio State product who started 59 games -- all in the past four years -- in six seasons with the San Francisco 49ers.
Boone had been a contract holdout in San Francisco the past two offseasons. In Minnesota, he is reunited with new offensive line coach Tony Sparano, who was with the 49ers in 2015.
Boone is tall for a guard at 6-8 but light on his feet at 300 pounds and allowed only five quarterback pressures in 2015 according to Pro Football Focus. Boone was considered one of the top interior linemen in free agency, behind only Baltimore Ravens free agent Kelechi Osemele at guard.
Zimmer said Bridgewater was hit too often his first two seasons, including 89 total sacks, and the Vikings reportedly weighed a complete overhaul that would have included releasing left tackle Matt Kalil.
Kalil was not released and the former first-round pick is expected to hold down a formidable offensive line likely to see even more upgrades.