The Vikings Have a Tight Budget; How Can They Open Cap Space?

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Jul 28, 2022; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

According to Over the Cap, the Vikings currently have a touch more than $2.266 million in cap space. Similarly, Spotrac suggests that Minnesota is working with a tight budget, but their projection is even more grim. They estimate that the Vikings actually have a bit below $1.8 million in cap space.

In other words, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah doesn’t have a ton of money to spend. Or, at least, he doesn’t currently have much money to spend.

The Vikings’ Options To Create Cap Space

The cuts have been made. The Vikings now have a 53-man roster. Now, things can (and will) still get shuffled around some, but we mostly know what things look like when it comes to the purple players.

The options for opening cap space, then, may come down to Vikings players the team is comfortable extending. As many have pointed out, the NFL salary cap is highly malleable. Tacking on a year (or more) allows teams to spread out money over a longer duration, thus opening room for the immediate.

In a recent piece on Purple PTSD, I highlighted Eric Kendricks as an option for an extension. Take a look at some of my rationale for why it makes sense:

One thinks of Eric Kendricks as a good option. Though older, Kendricks is still an excellent player. OTC indicates that his deal continues for this season and the next. Next year, his cap hit will be for $11.43 million. The catch is that there are no longer any guarantees. Plus, the team could move on from Kendricks with relatively little financial consequence. Cutting him after this season leaves behind $1.93 million in dead money while freeing $9.5 million.

In other words, there could plausibly be some good motivation from both sides to work out a new contract. The Vikings ought to be interested in retaining their great players; Kendricks may be interested in securing more guaranteed money.

OTC indicates that simply restructuring his deal could give the Vikings a touch more than $4 million in cap space in 2022. Extending his deal could free up a bit more than $6.5 million.

There are other veterans whom the team can also consider. Dalvin Cook, Harrison Smith, Adam Thielen, Brian O’Neill, and Dalvin Tomlinson can all create cap room if their deals get re-done and/or extended. Of those five, O’Neill may have the best chance of being in Minnesota long term. Perhaps the team’s management approaches the still-ascending RT about moving some money around.

Keep in mind that Rob Brzezinski is still with Minnesota. The salary cap expert has been able to help the Vikings create more space at various points. I imagine he is in dialogue with Adofo-Mensah with some regularity about the options that are available to the team.

Final Thoughts

The Vikings having plenty of cap space isn’t the goal in and of itself. Rather, it’s merely a means to an end. Being able to sign players is great, but the ultimate goal is to sign players who will help the team win.

Throughout the offseason, Adofo-Mensah has tried to add players who he believes will help the team bounce back from two-straight subpar seasons.

If there is an injury, though, and the team needs to pull off another move, Adofo-Mensah may need to first create some financial flexibility. Restructuring and/or extending a strong vet is probably the best option.

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