The Cincinnati Bengals stepped up with a one-year, $1.4 million offer to Vikings fullback Naufahu Tahi. Tahi, a restricted free agent, was offered a $1.01 million tender by the Vikings prior to free agency, but if they want to keep him they will have to kick out $1.4 million after the Bengals' offer sheet Friday.
The offer sheet came a few hours before the Philadelphia Eagles signed fullback Leonard Weaver to a one-year, $1.75 million contract. The Vikings were said to be one of the teams interested in the Seattle fullback, although that may have been talk by others to drive up his asking price.
With Weaver off the market, the Vikings have seven days to decide whether they want to pay the additional $400,000 to Tahi. That is far from certain, since fullbacks are more often than not undrafted free agents that come to the NFL under league-minimum contracts.
The Vikings haven't had a lot of consistency at fullback. In the first two years of the Brad Childress offense, veteran Tony Richardson was the primary blocking back for Adrian Peterson and A.D. was vocal about his disappointment that the Vikings didn't re-sign Richardson, who recently signed a one-year, $500,000 deal to remain with the Jets. The team thought it had its fullback question solved last year in free agency, when it signed Thomas Tapeh in the first days of free agency. Tapeh was a bust from the get-go and was released during the season without making much of a contribution, making Tahi the team's third starting fullback in less than one year.
To complicate matters, Peterson was also vocal about Tahi last year, claiming that at times the young fullback got in his way on running plays and was indecisive. That said, Tahi did show steady improvement during the season.
There are no guarantees that the Vikings will match the Tahi offer sheet, but, if the Vikings don't match the Bengals' offer, they will be looking for their fourth different starting fullback in the last two years.