Vikings FA Fits: RG Isaac Seumalo Could Significantly Upgrade the OL

Sep 19, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles guard Isaac Seumalo (56) blocks Minnesota Vikings defensive lineman Ross Blacklock (96) at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles won’t be able to retain all of their talent. C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Javon Hargrave, and James Bradberry are all looking for new deals. And what about their starting RG? If Isaac Seumalo is available, should the Vikings make an effort to bring the veteran aboard?

Minnesota’s offensive line is trending in the right direction, largely due to the stellar play from the LT and RT. One wonders, though, if a bit more help for the iOL will help push the offense just a touch higher.

The Basic Details: Isaac Seumalo

  • 29 years old. 6’4″, 303 pounds.
  • 2016 third-round selection.
  • 17 starts in 2022.
  • 1137 snaps played, 4 penalties against.
  • 72.7 PFF grade (including postseason), 10th among guards.

The Talk Around Town

Brad Spielberger has Seumalo as his 28th-best FA:

Seumalo was the model of consistency not just from a health standpoint, earning just one single-game grade below 60.0 on the season — and a 59.4 at that. Seumalo’s pass blocking from Week 11 on — protecting two very different quarterbacks in Jalen Hurts and Gardner Minshew — was nothing short of spectacular, earning a 90.4 mark with zero quarterback hits and pressure allowed on just 1.8% of pass-block snaps. 

On CBS, there is the belief that the Philly RG is the 41st-best free agent:

One of the best guards available in free agency, the versatile Seumalo can play both guard positions, center and even started a game at right tackle in his career. He’s allowed just one sack and 17 pressures this year, even though his beat rate of 2.8% is a career high. Seumalo is one of the best interior linemen in this class. 

Oct 2, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles guard Isaac Seumalo (56) against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The fine folks at ESPN put the veteran guard at 35th:

A technically sound blocker at 6-foot-4, 303 pounds, Seumalo has the foot quickness to redirect defenders. He has the body control to wrestle back against power rushers and create a firm base in the pocket. He had a pass block win rate of 93.6% this season, which ranked 15th among all guards, and his 72.6% run block win rate ranked 20th.

In the recent PurplePTSD Top 25 Free Agents for the Minnesota Vikings to Consider, the RG came in at 16th.

The Fit in Minnesota

The iOL is a sneaky need for the Minnesota Vikings.

Unless something totally unforeseen happens, Ezra Cleveland is going to be locking down the LG spot. Entering Year 4, Cleveland has solidified himself as one of the better guards in the NFL. His pass blocking still leaves something to be desired, but he’s part of the winning combination.

On the other side is Ed Ingram, who struggled during his rookie season. Per PFF, Ingram was responsible for allowing 11 sacks, 18 QB hits, and 58 pressures. Folks, that’s an unsustainably high amount of pressure allowed by a single offensive lineman.

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Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. © Bill Ingram / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Isaac Seumalo – though within an absolutely loaded Philadelphia OL – put forth considerably better numbers. The 29-year-old RG allowed 1 sack, 3 hits, and 20 pressures. Subtracting 10 sacks, 17 hits, and 38 pressures is a worthwhile goal.

Of course, we’d be foolish to assume that the 2023 season will lead to identical results. Moreover, we also need to remember that Jalen Hurts is supremely elusive, making him much tougher to sack/hit. Kirk Cousins, God bless him, isn’t winning any speed races in the NFL.

Regardless, the broader point remains: the Eagles’ veteran was a better pass blocker in 2022. He finished the year as the 10th RG in the PFF rankings. Ingram came in at 57th.

Now, the final chapter hasn’t been written yet for Mr. Ingram. It’s entirely plausible that he’ll show considerable improvement as early as the upcoming season. However, one wonders if an immediate upgrade at RG would be prudent.

The NFL’s top right guards are pulling in anywhere from $10ish million all the way up to $20 million (Jacksonville’s Brandon Scherff). For the finances to work, Seumalo would need to come in below the top range. After all, Ingram is returning for a mere $1.36 million. The potential upgrade to Seumalo would likely need to fall somewhere in the $4-$7 million range, a middle class deal for a roster still struggling with being quite top heavy.

Money isn’t infinite for our friends in purple. Generally speaking, GMs & coaches like to prioritize positions other than offensive guard. Nevertheless, the potential upgrade is significant for the Vikings.

With help from Isaac Seumalo, the Vikings offensive line could plausibly find itself in the NFL’s top 10 for 2023.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference, PFF, and Over the Cap helped with this piece.

The FA Fits series is neither predictive nor prescriptive. The articles don’t predict who Minnesota will sign and nor do they prescribe who Minnesota should sign. Rather, they’re merely an exploration of the fit between upcoming free agents and Minnesota’s roster. So far, we have considered LB David Long, EDGE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, WR Mecole Hardman, & CB Cameron Sutton.