Tuesday was a day full of re-signings for the Minnesota Vikings and one big release in Antoine Winfield. With a bunch of cap space and plenty of holes in the roster, Wednesday was sure to see some fireworks, right?
Well, not exactly.
The biggest real news to come out on Wednesday was some contract details regarding some of the players that have re-signed. We have already talked about Phil Loadholt’s $25 million deal (click here) and Jerome Felton’s three year deal (click here), but local beat writers have learned details about the other contracts given out on Tuesday:
JAMARCA SANFORD, S: The Vikings special teams ace, who has a knack for causing fumbles, got a nice pay bump when he signed a two year deal worth up to $5 million. The deal included a half million dollar signing bonus and a half million dollar roster bonus. His cap hit is expected to be $2.25 million this season and $2.75 in 2014. The money suggests that the Vikings will once again rely on Mistral Raymond to battle Sanford for the starting gig across from Harrison Smith, but it isn’t enough to rule out an upgrade if one presents itself at the right level of value during free agency or the Draft.
ERIN HENDERSON, LB: Henderson had spent his whole career with the Vikings and when he became a free agent last offseason the front office let him dangle on the open market for an extended period of time. This year they took care of business a lot quicker by signing him to a two year deal, worth $4 million, on the first day of free agency. The contract includes half million dollar bonuses nearly identical to Sanford’s, but has $250,000 incentives built into each year of the deal. The Vikings still need linebacker help, with starter Jasper Brinkley visiting with the Giants and Cardinals, but Henderson coming back provides them with versatility and depth. Henderson is only 26 years old.
JOE BERGER, C: The backup lineman signed a veteran minimum one year deal, so he will earn a salary just south of $1 million. Berger is 30 years old and brings with him the most experience of any current backup along the offensive line. Fellow lineman Geoff Schwartz, who played quite well in place of Brandon Fusco at times last season, is not expected to return.
There are still unknown contract details and cap adjustments, but it is believed that the Vikings currently have $11-$13 million in salary cap space. Their 11 draft picks will chew up some of that, but the Vikings still have plenty of cap room to play with, should they decide to do so.