The Browns had left the door open for defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson to return after cutting him in a salary cap move in April.
It was slammed shut Tuesday.
The Vikings announced Richardson signed with them. He played in Minnesota in 2018 before signing a three-year, $37 million contract with the Browns as a free agent in 2019.
NFL Network reported his deal with the Vikings is for one year and $3.6 million with a chance to earn up to $4.35 million.
Richardson, 30, was due $11 million in his final year with the Browns, who saved the cash and cap space.
Richardson started all 16 regular-season games last year, totaling 4.5 sacks, 10 quarterback hits, 64 tackles, five tackles for loss, three passes defensed and a forced fumble. He had three sacks and three forced fumbles in 2019.
Richardson was well-liked by coaches and teammates, and general manager Andrew Berry and coach Kevin Stefanski said multiple times since cutting Richardson that they’d like to have him back if a deal worked for both sides. But Berry made several moves in the likelihood that didn’t happen.
He signed Malik Jackson, Malik McDowell, Marvin Wilson and Damion Square as free agents and drafted Tommy Togiai out of Ohio State in the fourth round.
Richardson told reporters in Minnesota the Vikings made an offer a couple of weeks ago but he was “waiting to hear back from Cleveland.”
“I started something there,” he said. “Honestly, just couldn’t come to an agreement on what I wanted from Cleveland.”