Vikings G Nick Easton undergoes neck surgery, likely out for the season

Aug 9, 2015; Canton, OH, USA; Minnesota Vikings helmet on the field during the 2015 Pro Football Hall of Fame game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In what could be a massive blow for the defending NFC North champions, Minnesota Vikings starting left guard Nick Easton has undergone surgery on his neck to repair a herniated disc. While not career ending, the surgery will likely cost Easton the entire 2018 season.

Easton, 26, came over from the San Francisco 49ers in a trade back in 2015. Since then, he’s proven to be one of the most consistent offensive linemen on a unit that continues to struggle in that area.

Last season alone, Easton started 12 games at multiple positions. Pro Football Focus also graded him out as one fo the best pass-protecting guards in the game.

When reports of Easton’s injury initially broke, indications were that the Vikings might be interested in Pro Bowl free agent Richie Incognito. That led to a back and forth between the veteran and Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer, culminating in the end of a relationship that never really got off the ground in the first place (more on that here).

With Easton likely sidelined for the entire 2018 season, internal options to replace him include Tom Compton, Josh Andrews and Danny Isidora. Though, Minnesota will likely look at both the free agent and trade markets for a potential replacement.