- Associated Press - Thursday, March 17, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The offseason overhaul of the Minnesota Vikings offensive line continued on Thursday with the addition of free agent tackle Andre Smith.

Smith agreed to terms on a one-year deal three days after visiting the Twin Cities, and his addition bolsters a group that struggled to protect young quarterback Teddy Bridgewater last season.

Smith visited Minnesota on Sunday and Monday, dining with Vikings brass and touring the new stadium that is set to open in August. But he left without a deal and also visited the Arizona Cardinals before ultimately choosing the Vikings. Smith tweeted a picture of his new Vikings nameplate for his locker in announcing his decision.

“Minneapolis here I come…Excited to join the great Vikings organization today on a 1-yr deal!” Smith wrote.

It’s the latest in a series of moves by general manager Rick Spielman and coach Mike Zimmer aimed at upgrading the line. They signed coveted guard Alex Boone from the San Francisco 49ers, replaced offensive line coach Jeff Davidson with Tony Sparano and brought back veteran tackle Phil Loadholt and guard Mike Harris.

Smith is expected to compete with Loadholt, who is returning from a torn Achilles tendon, and T.J. Clemmings, who was the starter as a rookie when Loadholt went down, for the starting right tackle spot.

Smith was the sixth overall draft pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2009. He was the starter at right tackle for the last five seasons in Cincinnati.



AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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