Guion enjoying a 'fresh start' with Packers

Weston Hodkiewicz
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The door apparently was open for Letroy Guion to return to the Minnesota Vikings, but it would have required the seventh-year defensive lineman to accept a sizable pay cut from the $3.95 million

Defensive tackle Letroy Guion works with defensive end Carlos Gray during OTA practice June 3 at Ray Nitschke Field in Ashwaubenon. H. Marc Larson/Press-Gazette Media

He was scheduled to make in 2014.

So Guion tested the market, and two weeks after being sliced from the Vikings' payroll, the 6-foot-4, 315-pound veteran signed a one-year deal with the Green Bay Packers worth up to $985,000 that included a $100,000 signing bonus.

Guion's choice came down to two factors — the 26-year-old wanted a fresh start and a Super Bowl ring. Based on the NFC North rivals' contrasting quarterback situations, he felt the 5-hour trip east on Wisconsin 29 was his best bet.

"I had an offer, but I feel like I needed a fresh start just to get out of the Vikings' shadow or whatever," said Guion, who has 90 career tackles and five sacks in 68 career games with 31 starts.

"There was an offer on the table, but obviously I turned it down. Basically, I wanted to choose what quarterback I wanted to play with to have a better chance to get to a Super Bowl. Going into my seventh year this year, I ain't getting no younger, so you have to choose wisely when you do that. I chose here."

Last year, the Vikings started three quarterbacks — Matt Cassel, Christian Ponder and Josh Freeman — during a 5-10-1 season that resulted in the firing of coach Leslie Frazier. They re-signed Cassel and took Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater in the first round of May's draft, but the starting job is far from settled.

Guion joins a Packers squad coming off its fifth consecutive playoff berth under the controls of an MVP quarterback in Aaron Rodgers.

The Packers are looking at Guion as a possible backup to B.J. Raji at nose tackle after not re-signing either Ryan Pickett or Johnny Jolly this offseason. Although Guion has played everywhere on the line, he's the third heaviest defensive lineman behind Raji (337) and undrafted rookie Mike Pennel (332).

Guion is a new face in a locker room mostly filled with homegrown talent, but has become familiar with the Packers' roster after playing them at least twice a year for the past six seasons.

He started the last 28 games he appeared in with the Vikings, but is willing to accept whatever role awaits him in Dom Capers' 3-4 scheme.

"I feel like I can play just about any position on the D-line because of my athleticism," Guion said. "I think that can play to my advantage and up my game, and I can probably get more opportunities here in this defense. I'm glad I made this decision."

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