The Dead Money is Going to Be a Heavy Burden for 2024 Vikings

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Vikings fans have grown accustomed to worrying about money, but will things change in the 2024 Vikings budget?

After several years of seeking to field a competitive team, the Vikings have often found themselves in an unenviable position when it comes to finances. Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has been hard at work changing things, slashing veterans while shipping out others. These decisions, though, come with some consequences.

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Indeed, carving out increased cap room often leads to a notable downside: dead money. Players regularly have portions of their contract spread out over the lifetime of a deal. When that deal doesn’t reach its conclusion – like Dalvin Cook being cut with several more years left on his contract – the guaranteed cap hits need to be accounted for. Thus, dead money.

Currently, Cook gobbles up a bit more than $5.1 million in cap space even though he isn’t on the team. Even worse, his contract leaves behind some remnants on next year’s budget, as well.

The 2024 Vikings Budget and Kwesi’s Cap Moves

Moving on from Cook after June 1st means the former RB1 has his dead money charge spread over a pair of seasons. Next year, Cook will account for more than $3.1 million in the budget even though he’s nowhere to be found.

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While there has been an ample amount written celebrating Minnesota’s upcoming cap flexibility, the team will still need to navigate a hefty pile of dead money. Perhaps that’s just the cost of doing business when a new GM takes over, but it’s notable nonetheless.

Consider, for instance, just the well-compensated QB1. I did not foresee Adofo-Mensah being willing to kick even more money into 2024; or, rather, I didn’t foresee the new GM being willing to take on so much in dead money. Locking the QB in for a pile of gold via extension is one thing, but merely shaving off money in 2023 to the detriment of 2024 is quite another scenario.

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Kirk Cousins was already going to leave behind $12.5 million, so seeing that total swell to $28.5 million was stunning. The GM took off $16 million from the present day, moving it over to next year through a signing bonus conversion and void years.

Cousins isn’t alone. Consider some of the other dead cap possibilities:

PlayerDead Money
Cook, Dalvin$3,101,273
Cousins, Kirk$28,500,000
Hunter, Danielle$11,240,000
Davenport, Marcus$6,800,000
Total: $49,641,273

Now, the Vikings are positioning themselves in a manner that allows them to digest the nearly $50 million in dead money. And, of course, there’s a chance some of that doesn’t arrive. Extending any of Cousins, Hunter, and/or Davenport would mean the team simply has to accommodate a cap hit for a player actually on the roster rather than for one who isn’t.

Taking a more pessimistic view would involve highlighting the potential cut candidates. Harrison Phillips is a great player, but will the Vikings think he’s worth his cap hit that’s nearing $9 million? A simple cut would free up $6.5 million while leaving behind more than $2.3 million.

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Phillips is merely one example. The team could move on from any number of players, leading to a variety of possibilities for next season’s budget.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has been fairly outspoken about his desire to thread the purple needle while preaching amount the merits of his competitive rebuild. He’s trying to rebuild the team while maintaining a playoff-calibre squad, which is no small feat.

Refuelling the plane while it’s still in the air isn’t for the faint of heart. If successful, the Vikings will maintain their competitiveness in 2023 while still having cap room in 2024 and beyond, but it’s a difficult balance with some obvious downsides.

Editor’s Note: Information from Over the Cap helped with this piece This piece originally appeared on PurplePTSD.