Friday, January 20, 2017

NFL Free Agency

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About the Labor: A Minnesota Vikings Podcast — Episode 40

Logo designed by Steve Danielson

BJ Reidell and Drew Mahowald take a look back at Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman’s free agency trends as well as the Vikings’ salary cap situation and attempt to make sense of how these elements may apply to 2017.

PRIMARY TALKING POINTS

  • Vikings salary cap standing
  • Retaining in-house players
  • Projecting salaries for in-house players
  • Spielman’s recent history during free agency
  • Potential fits during free agency
  • Crazy idea of pairing up two marquee nose tackles
  • Drew steps into the Skol Spin hot seat

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The last time we checked in on the best Vikings links from around the web, the team’s roster looked very different. Since then, Minnesota has signed 16 free agents including 11 who played for the team last season.

With a majority of their free agent signings done with, the focus will now shift to what the Vikings will be doing heading into this spring’s NFL Draft. Have their new acquisitions done anything to change Minnesota’s priorities for the Draft?

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Only a few days remain until the 2015 NFL Draft, so looking ahead to the 2016 free agency situation seems incredibly far away. It’s worth being aware of, however, because the Vikings have 23 players entering the final year of their contract this season.

On top of those 23, keep this in mind: 2012 first-round pick Harrison Smith has a fifth-year option in his contract, which gives the Vikings another 16 games to make any long-term decisions. According to ESPN, GM Rick Spielman has until May 3 to decide on the extra year. It seems safe to say at this point, however, that Spielman will go to lengths to keep Smith in purple, and it could be costly. The safety’s current deal is worth $7.14 million.

There will be a lot of decisions to be made regarding re-signing, restructuring, or saying “good-bye” to lots of roster members, so let’s see who will be free agents prior to the 2016 season:

OFFENSE

DEFENSE

SPECIAL TEAMS

*will be a restricted free agent

Let’s take a look at a few of the more notable players on this list…

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For the Chad Greenway fans out there (myself included), you’ll be happy to see this tweet by USA Today’s Tom Pelissero:

Greenway has been one of those question marks as the Vikings have entered free agency, mostly because his contract takes up a good-sized chunk of Minnesota’s cap space.

In his tenth NFL year, he would count $8.8 million against Minnesota’s salary cap; if released, he would count a much smaller number ($1.7 million) against the cap. Last season Greenway willingly took a pay cut, restructuring his contract to stay in Minny, and it seems he is willing to do the same again.

Per Star Tribune beat reporter Matt Vensel, the Vikings have re-signed RFA swing tackle Mike Harris.

Minnesota tendered an offer to Harris on March 10, and the two sides reached a deal Tuesday morning. At the time of the initial offer, Harris said the following:

“It’s a place where I feel like I can grow as a player. [The Vikings have] a great coaching staff, especially (offensive coordinator) Norv Turner. Offensively, it’s just going to get better this year and I just want to be part of it. I’m just happy they have the confidence in me and they believe in me and want me on the team.’’

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