Let’s Talk about Vikings Cap Casualties

Dec 9, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings fullback C.J. Ham. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings currently sit $15 million over the salary cap, and they have a lot of holes on the roster. They need to add pieces on all three levels of the defense, and the offensive line needs attention. While some extensions are expected, there will be some cap causalities, especially with a new coach. 

Currently, the Vikings are top-heavy with their contracts. This makes it difficult to build a team with quality depth. They will need to clear cap space through extensions and restructures. If the Vikings release or trade some prominent names, we shouldn’t be surprised. 

Could a Hometown Favorite Be Cap Causality?

The Rams under McVay and O’Connell never use a fullback. In fact, they run 11 personnel 85% of the time. While it’s difficult to say if O’Connell will bring that exact concept with him, it wouldn’t be a surprise. If O’Connell does bring that philosophy to Minnesota, releasing Ham could be an option.

Ham has a $3 million cap hit in 2022 and $4.5 million in 2023. Releasing him with a pre-June 1st deadline would save $1.95 million in 2022 and $3 million in 2023. More importantly, the Vikings create a roster spot by releasing Ham, which could be used at WR, CB, or wherever they find appropriate. 

Changes on the Defensive Line

The defensive line has been bad over the last two years. The Vikings’ opponents made a habit of pushing around many rotational players. Therefore, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see some moves made here. 

Armon Watts has been a decent rotational player, but it doesn’t appear he will become a starter. He is in the last year of his contract and has a cap hit of $2.5 million. The Vikings could clear $2.4 million by releasing him. 

DJ Wonnum is another name to watch. While he is a good pass rusher, he struggles to set the edge against the run. The Vikings could clear $700k in 2022 and $1 million in 2023 by releasing. However, he does show some promise, and the new coaching staff might help him learn to set the edge. 

If the Vikings made all of these moves, they would clear three roster spots and $5 million in cap space. While this doesn’t sound significant, it could be enough space to sign a quality cornerback or offensive lineman. 

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