The Minnesota Vikings announced last Friday that they had released guards, Brandon Fusco and Mike Harris, as the look to rebuild an offensive line that struggled in 2016. Fusco was due to draw more than $15 million against the cap over the next three seasons. With his release the Vikings recoups $3.2 million in 2017, but will have to eat $1.6 million in dead money. The release of Harris has no cap implications as he was signed to a one-year deal in 2016.
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Fusco joined Minnesota as a sixth-round pick in 2011 and started 63 of the 66 games he played for the Vikings over his six-year tenure. He became a starter at right guard in 2012 and looked to be staple on the line after his 2013 breakout campaign. After suffering a pectoral injury in 2014, he was never the same. Fusco moved over to left guard in 2015 and struggled mightily in 2016.
Harris was signed by the San Diego Chargers in 2012 as an undrafted free agent before landing with Minnesota in 2014 where he replaced Phil Loadholt at right tackle, making five starts. In 2015 he moved over to right guard and started all 16 games but missed the entire 2016 season due to a non-football related illness. Harris made 21 starts in the 28 games he played in Minnesota.
Neither release comes as a surprise with the Vikings looking to upgrade an offensive line that was one of the worst in the NFL last season. Minnesota finished last in rushing, averaging just 3.2 yards per carry and surrendered 37 sacks, the sixth most in the league.