3 Vikings Players Are All but Guaranteed to Be Cut

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O'Connell

The new league year is less than a month away now. The Vikings are over the cap by $23 million and must be cap compliant by March 15th. Because of this, 3 Vikings players are all but guaranteed to be cut before the start of the new NFL season.

There are a lot of decisions that need to be made in a short amount of time. This is the case every single year. What players do you want to keep? Which ones could potentially be traded, and what do we want for compensation? Who do we have that should be extended?

Now that the Vikings have locked down their defensive coordinator with Brian Flores, it is time to work on answering these questions. Flores will have a significant influence over the defensive personnel, which is bound to see some turnover. Meanwhile, some contract decisions will be made on the offensive side.

Based on what we have heard through press conferences and little hints dropped on social media, we can guess what will happen over the next month. Three players are extremely likely to be cut or traded, and they are some big names.

  • Eric Kendricks
  • Dalvin Cook
  • CJ Ham

For most fans, these names are probably not a surprise. However, they will surely sting as they have been part of the organization for the better part of a decade.

Why These 3 Vikings Players are Most Likely to be Cut

Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings are more than capable of making enough salary cap space without cutting a single player. They can conduct some simple restructures or negotiate extensions to push salary down the road. Honestly, this is the best spot they have been in terms of cap space in the last three years.

However, when it comes to Eric Kendricks, Dalvin Cook, and CJ Ham, the question is not about the cap. The question is whether or not these three players are needed and good enough to be part of the team in 2023.

Is Eric Kendricks good enough, or is he even a scheme fit in a Brian Flores defense? It is difficult to say this, but Kendricks appears to be hitting an age cliff. There were moments last year where he simply could not get out to the flat fast enough to cover a running back. This was most prominent against the Giants in the playoffs.

If Kendricks truly is hitting an age cliff, and it wasn’t because of the new scheme, it is time to move on. The Vikings can save $9.5 million in cap space by releasing or trading him. Then they could pursue someone like Germaine Pratt in free agency, who would cost about $8 million against the cap, according to PFF.

3 Vikings Players
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Dalvin Cook is another player that has been suggested to be dropping off as he ages. Not to mention that numerous analytics gurus believe paying running backs is a fool’s errand. Additionally, KOC doesn’t need a stallion of a running back to operate his offensive scheme. It is much easier to grab some plug-and-play running backs for cheap.

What is most interesting about Cook is that when it was announced he was having shoulder surgery, his agent said, “Dalvin has been absolutely dominant and we cannot wait until September.”

That kind of talk is not intended to be directed at Vikings fans or the team. It is directed at other teams to let them know he will be ready and as good as ever. The Vikings would save nearly $6 million by releasing him.

Lastly, CJ Ham is the most obvious of the three of these players. He played roughly 11% of the offensive snaps last year as KOC took over the offense. The Vikings simply do not have a use for a fullback. Ham has been a favorite amongst fans for a while, but the team will save $3 million by releasing him.

Mitch Massman is a lifelong Vikings fan. His first heartbreak was the 1998 NFC championship game. His full-time job is as an economic development professional in rural Minnesota. He fantasizes about the Vikings winning a Super Bowl one day, but until then he will write about the Vikings. Follow him on Twitter @skol_vikings3