The Minnesota Vikings have stopped becoming somewhat active in free agency, like most teams, and have signed most of who they were going to sign. After losing Henry Melton to the Dallas Cowboys, the Vikings chose to sign former New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Tom Johnson, which makes it extremely unlikely that they re-sign Kevin Williams.

I’ve tracked the Vikings’ moves below. Any signings that occurred after January 1st 2014 is a “new addition,” which is why there are some names there that you may not recognize from the free agency period. Signings added to the team or practice squad in 2013 were not categorized as “new additions.”

New Additions

  • Linval Joseph, defensive tackle. Five years, $31,500,000. $12,500,000 guaranteed ($3,000,000 signing bonus), average salary $6,300,000. Cap hit in 2014: $6,600,000.
  • Captain Munnerlyn, cornerback. Three years, $11,250,000. $4,450,000 guaranteed ($1,000,000 signing bonus), average salary $3,750,000. Cap hit in 2014: $3,333,333.
  • Corey Wootton defensive end. One year, $1,500,000. $? guaranteed ($? signing bonus), average salary $1,5000,000. Cap hit in 2014: $1,500,000.
  • Tom Johnson, defensive tackle. One year, $845,000. $50,000 guaranteed ($50,000 signing bonus), average salary $845,000. Cap hit in 2014: $845,000.
  • Jasper Brinkley, linebacker. One year, $830,000. $25,000 guaranteed ($25,000 signing bonus), average salary $830,000. Cap hit in 2014: $830,000.
  • Derek Cox, cornerback. One year, $730,000. $0 guaranteed ($0 signing bonus), average salary $730,000. Cap hit in 2014: $780,000.
  • Kheeston Randall, defensive tackle. Two years, $1,080,000. $0 guaranteed ($0 signing bonus), average salary $540,000. Cap hit in 2014: $495,000.
  • Josh Samuda, center. One year, $495,000. $0 guaranteed ($0 signing bonus), average salary $495,000. Cap hit in 2014: $495,000.
  • Simoni Lawrence, linebacker. Three years, $1,540,000. $10,000 guaranteed ($10,000 signing bonus), average salary $513,333. Cap hit in 2014: $423,333.
  • Kamar Jorden, wide receiver. Two years, $930,000. $0 guaranteed ($0 signing bonus), average salary $465,000. Cap hit in 2014: $420,000.

Re-Signings

  • Everson Griffen, defensive end. Five years, $42,500,000. $19,800,000 guaranteed ($6,000,000 signing bonus), average salary $8,500,000. Cap hit in 2014: $8,200,000.
  • Matt Cassel, quarterback. Two years, $10,500,000. $5,650,000 guaranteed ($0 signing bonus), average salary $5,250,000. Cap hit in 2014: $5,750,000.
  • Charlie Johnson, guard. Two years, $5,000,000. $1,500,000 guaranteed ($0 signing bonus), average salary $2,500,000. Cap hit in 2014 $2,500,000.
  • Jerome Simpson, receiver. One year, $1,000,000. $0 guaranteed ($0 signing bonus), average salary $1,000,000. Cap hit in 2014: $1,000,000.
  • Fred Evans, defensive tackle. One year, $1,000,000. $0 guaranteed ($0 signing bonus), average salary $1,000,000. Cap hit in 2014: $1,000,000.
  • Joe Berger, guard. One year, $920,000. $65,000 guaranteed ($65,000 signing bonus), average salary $920,000. Cap hit in 2014: $920,000.
  • Larry Dean, linebacker. Two years, $2,000,000. $400,000 guaranteed ($200,000 signing bonus), average salary $1,000,000. Cap hit in 2014: $900,000.

Cuts

  • John Carlson, tight end. Previous 2014 cap hit: $5,000,000. Current dead money: $3,000,000. Total cap savings: $2,000,000.
  • Letroy Guion, defensive tackle. Previous 2014 cap hit: $4,300,000. Current dead money: $300,000. Total cap savings: $4,000,000.
  • Erin Henderson, linebacker. Previous 2014 cap hit: $2,250,000. Current dead money: $250,000. Total cap savings: $2,000,000.
  • Greg Childs, receiver. Previous 2014 cap hit: $645,146. Current dead money: $150,292. Total cap savings:  $494,854.

Restructures

  • Chad Greenway, linebacker. Reduced base salary from $6,400,000 to $5,500,000 and eliminated $100,000 workout bonus in exchange for fully guaranteeing his 2014 salary. Cap hit: $7,200,000 (old hit: $8,200,000).
  • Jerome Felton, fullback. Reduced base salary from $2,000,000 to $1,450,000 in exchange for guaranteeing a portion of his 2014 salary. Cap hit: $1,813, 726 (old hit: $2,313,726).
  • Jamarca Sanford, safety. Reduced base salary from $2,500,000 to $1,700,000 to be made back in incentives in exchange for guaranteeing a portion of his 2014 salary. Cap hit: $2,500,00 (old hit: $3,000,000).

After pricing in rookies and other dead space, the available cap money the Vikings have is around $13,500,000—depending on Charlie Johnson’s contract and whether or not the Vikings trade around in the draft. This is $1,000,000 more than I predicted a few days ago, because Jerome Simpson’s contract is half of what I thought it would be.

**UPDATE: I keep receiving conflicting information regarding the Charlie Johnson contract. Over-the-cap and Spotrac have different numbers. For now the numbers have been updated to include the pricier version of his contract, which was my initial understanding of it. The new cap space is therefore closer to $12,000,000 after accounting for rookie signings.

Prospective depth chart below. I’ve italicized all the new signings and underlined the re-signings.

Vikings Depth Chart - 3-20-14

I’m currently in the air, so I can’t update the depth chart, but Wootton slots in behind Griffen or Robison.

I’m not extremely confident that this is how the Vikings perceive it or how it will shake out, but that’s what I have. Players like Robert Steeples, Kip Edwards, etc. were not italicized because they were on the Vikings practice squad during the season and didn’t play for another team since being part of the active roster this offseason. Kamar Jorden played for the Arena league, so I included him as a new signing.

Naturally, the depth charts will change as camp battles progress and new draftees enter the team. There are some key differences in this chart over the previous chart, mostly at linebacker. Hodges and Dean were listed as Sam linebackers last year and I included them this year as Will linebackers, mostly because the Vikings, between 2011-2013 had some different responsibilities for the Sam linebacker that may have made Hodges and Dean better Sam fits. There is a chance that the new scheme may prefer those two at Will (though I haven’t broken it down yet).

There are your current 2014 Vikings! What do you think?

39 COMMENTS

    • Weird. I caught that and changed it, but I guess I did not include the most recent depth chart to reflect that (as my earlier depth chart had the error you mentioned).

      Thanks!

        • Yep. Added in.

          I’ll keep Ellison as a FB as he plays more in the H-back role than either TE or FB and that feels more like a FB than a TE.

  1. I think at this point we have no depth. You look at the second string and with Griffen promoted there’s not a guy you’d be happy with starting.

    • There’s no depth at some positions (defensive end, cornerback, offensive tackle), but I do think it’s worth noting that there is depth elsewhere (receiver, safety).

      • We can say there is depth at Slot receiver and Fullback. I’m not as high on the safeties as you. I’m looking around the league and there are elite duos .. That’s not what we have. I’m not interested in competing, I’m interested in winning. This year should be all about depth. Outside of kicker and punter there isn’t a position we couldn’t benefit from BPA in any round. Definitely need to trade down and not back up. Spielman needs to score some 3rd to 6th round pro caliber talent. I’m not saying we can’t win. I’m saying a soft schedule 9-7 doesn’t help the real cause of winning the Super Bowl.

  2. This is awesome work. I’m really hopeful we can get another veteran linebacker on the roster and i’d love to see us draft a strong safety to be groomed to replace Sanford. I think we just need depth…still, it’s a far better roster than last year IMO…

    Thanks again for putting this together…it’s awesome for us LA Vikes to find something legit to keep us updated! SKOL!

  3. The offensive and defensive line depth is putrid at best.

    The starting LB group is 2/3rd unknown and 1/3 overrated.

    The safety opposite Smith is a crap shoot of mediocrity

    Backup RB and backup TE is scary.

    And obviously the QB situation is terrible.

    Other than that the team looks good. :)

    I would still like to see them get some MOAR free agents like Corey Wooten, maybe Terrence “Moobs” Cody or Pat Sims, Chris Clemons, Knowshon Moreno, and Ed Dickson.

    • Have to disagree with you when it comes to safeties. Jamarca Sanford is better than average as a safety, and Sendejo looks ready to come into his own.

      • During a preseason telecast last season (2013) Mayock was talking up Sendejo. He has potential. I think Sanford’s coverage skills are questionable, but there’s no denying his run support. I think he is a solid starter. Especially considering other spots on the defense. That said, I’m still holding a grudge against him for taking out E.J.

  4. I was wondering why you moved Audie Cole to strongside instead of middle; where he started last year? Not that because that’s where someone played in last years defense was the right spot for them: J. Robinson, L. Guion, E. Henderson. Are you thinking Cole’s size for a TE coverage aspect? He seems to have speed. I don’t know how much outside experience he has. He played inside at NC St., and, as far as I can recall, only inside for the Vikes. I’m concerned about every spot at linebacker. Hopefully Greenway returns to being a solid player. Between Cole, Brinkley, and Mauti we should have a serviceable Mike. If Hodges doesn’t step up we’re in trouble at Will. Heck, if Greenway plays like he did last year we’re in trouble at LB’er. We don’t just need depth, we need starters at at least two LB’er spots, maybe all three if Greenway isn’t resigned next year. Ideally the draft will help to solve some of the problems a week free agency LB class couldn’t.

    • Cole isn’t much of a coverage player, especially in man, so it’s not a perfect fit. I put Cole in at Sam because of his previous history there at NC State (I believe three years at Sam and one at Mike), his size to take on blocks and because I think the depth chart will shake out to attempt to make the positions two-deep (no reason to be one-deep at Sam and three-deep at Mike). I’ve been concerned about Audie Cole’s reaction time, and that’s a greater problem at Mike.

      • You’re right about limiting his number of reads to help him. He showed some potential against G.B., but he didn’t seem to shed blocks. I don’t think he’s very strong, so that’s probably not helping him in the middle either. I don’t have a way to watch game film, so these memories are 3 or 4 months old and could be wrong. Until Mauti or Hodges actually get on the field, with the exception of Greenway, all we have are depth players at LB’er. There are no starter quality guys there.

  5. Arif,

    Any potential starters we should be aware coming out of the late rounds this draft? It’s very conceivable a 4-6 rounder could come in and challenge the starting Mike and Will.

    • Starters in the late rounds? Hard to find in general. Guard is your best bet. Trai Turner, Chris Watt, and Jon Halapio are longshots who could start at guard, while Anthony Steen and Cyril Richardson could easily fall into the later rounds and be starting quality. I suppose Seantrel Henderson could start at guard, but I doubt it.

      Other than that, I suppose Max Bullough could surprise people at linebacker, as could Jordan Tripp. Of the safeties, I suppose Marqueston Huff, Ty Zimmerman or Tre Boston could crack a spot, and Antone Exum could really prove his preseason hype at cornerback. A lot of people like Terrance Mitchell, too. I’m not a huge fan of Aaron Colvin, but I bet you could find a few credible people who think he could start in year one.

      Not really sure, I just wouldn’t bet on it.

  6. Good job with the lineup. It’s clear to me that we have a number of needs that have to be addressed.

    First and foremost, Cassel is not a franchise QB and this position needs to be addressed in the first three rounds(Bridgewater, Manziel, Bortles, and Murray).

    Next, is the LBing core. This is an area that may be the worst in the NFL. I think Greenway will be average this year, but the other two positions are downright brutal. Hodges hasn’t shown us anything and Cole/Mauti/Brinkley should be depth players. Guys like Mack(SLB), Mosely(MLB or WLB), and Shazier(WLB) should be targeted. Two LB’s need to be selected in the top 4 rounds.

    I still have concerns on the outside at CB. Rhodes is solid, and Captain will be an upgrade as a slot CB, but who will start on the opposite side of Rhodes?

    The last major position in need is LOG. Johnson is a below average lineman and needs to be replaced. Guys like Yankey and Thomas would be upgrades over Johnson in the third rd.

    So again, here is the list of needs for the Vikings(QB, WLB, CB, MLB, and LOG). We could also select a 3rd down back later in the draft(M.Grice) and depth at WR(J.Saunders). Depth at DE is also a need(Easley).

    • I agree with most of what you’re saying. I would place CB behind LOG, because between Prater and Robinson there may be an acceptable starter. I don’t think our Mike (whoever it is) or C. Johnson will be.

    • yup, i agree. QB and LB need the most attention. the draft will change these charts, and if we keep some cap money open, we might get lucky later. there’s always some disgruntled players and cuts that weren’t expected

  7. I am hopeful to see Mauti and Hodges step up. I have full confidence that especially Mauti can. He commands the defense when he is on the field like a seasoned very good mike ‘backer. We do need depth at DE and possible starter at OG going into camp. I’m hoping that at least 2 draftees have a chance to make the starting lineup [at least the first rounder unless he is a QB – he needs grooming] and that other draftees add to the depth weak spots.

    Another great job Arif!

  8. Have to agree that depth behind some of the positions is scary. Looking I can not believe they gave C. Johnson that amount of money.

    • Well that’s the issue, right? If you’re worried about depth, sometimes you have to take on those contracts.

      Although I’m not that upset about the Johnson contract.

        • I see that the Chiefs brought in J’Marcus Webb for a visit but has there been any sign that the Vikes were interested in re-signing him? He played well for us last year and would give us veteran, swing depth at OT.

  9. would he have signed both? hmm, not likely, but that would’ve been cool

    http://www.kfan.com/onair/vikings-blog-38526/coach-zimmer-says-everson-griffen-was-12174070/

    On a radio interview with Paul Allen (KFAN) Thursday morning, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer confirmed that the Vikings almost had Johnson, but in the end it was Johnson’s desire to play closer to his family that won out.

    “He wanted to be close to home is what it all came down to,” Zimmer said on Johnson. “Michael is a very southern, country kid and grew up in Selma, AL. It had nothing to do with football. He wanted to be with me and I think that was the struggle he was going through whether to be with me in Minnesota or to be close to home. I lost.”

    Interesting, but we’ve buried the lead already. In the midst of the conversation, Zimmer made a very clear point that Johnson was not their first choice to fill Jared Allen’s open defensive end spot. In fact, according to coach, it was Everson Griffen who was number one on the Vikings free agent “big board.”

    “We decided that [Everson Griffen] was our guy even though Michael had played with me,” Zimmer continued. “I don’t want to give the impression that Michael Johnson was the guy we were going after and Everson was the second guy. We felt like Everson was a guy that his career is starting to go up and he was the guy that we really put our eggs in his basket first. If it got too out of hand money-wise or something like that then we were going to move on Michael.”

    This quote could certainly be nothing more than coach speak in an attempt to not upset the player on your roster, or it could be a glimpse into the true potential that they see from Everson going into the future.

  10. I see alot of people grousing about some of the recent signings…. but isn’t it true that many of them (Derek Cox, Tom Johnson, etc.), are not guaranteed, and therefore if they are not on the Day 1 roster the team is not on the hook for any $$$?

    I see Corey Wooten is signed too…. good DE depth.

  11. Has Jared come out with any “thank you the fans/team” statement since officially saying he won’t be coming back to the Vikes? Or do these guys usually wait to sign with another team first. Unlike others like KWill, he seems to have gone on the record as cutting ties to the team.

Leave a Reply