4 Vikings Got Richer on Thursday

Week 16 Vikings Injury Report
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The NFL no longer narrowly focuses solely on 1st-Round draftees as players with sliding payscales during the duration of their rookie contracts.

Three years ago, the NFL powers that be and NFLPA established conditions for non-1st-Rounders who outperform contracts and awards them accordingly. It’s a neat little system that promotes equity, fairness, and production.

4 Vikings Got Richer on Thursday

Well, the new-ish rule impacted four Minnesota Vikings players this week, all men from the 2020 NFL Draft.

Ezra Cleveland (LG)

4 Vikings Got Richer
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2023 Salary Change: $1.365m –> $2.99m

Cleveland has emerged as a steady-as-hell offensive guard, a commodity the Vikings have desperately craved since the departure of Steven Hutchinson years ago. Of course, he’s no Hutchinson, but Cleveland is developing in his own right according to plan.

His pass protection can still stand to improve, but his 73.4 Pro Football Focus overall grade ranked eighth in the NFL among all guards in 2022.

And now he’ll be $1.62 million richer.

Cameron Dantzler (CB)

The Vikings Final Injury Report: Week 10
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2023 Salary Change: $1.154m –> $2.74m

Dantlzer didn’t play much down the stretch of the 2022 season due to injury or otherwise, but he is one of the few Vikings CBs under contract in 2023.

Minnesota, for now, will jaunt into the 2023 regular season with Dantzler, Andrew Booth, and Akayleb Evans as cornerbacks on the books. Patrick Peterson and Duke Shelley are free agents.

K.J. Osborn (WR)

Enough for the Vikings
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2023 Salary Change: $1.01m –> $2.74m

Depending on Adam Thielen’s contractual status, Osborn could be on deck for WR2 duty in 2023. The Vikings may also draft a Thielen replacement if Mr. Minnesota departs this offseason.

During the NFL’s largest comeback in history, authored by the Vikings on December 17th, Osobrn was absolutely instrumental.

D.J. Wonnum (OLB)

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2023 Salary Change: $1.01m –> $2.74m

Wonnum is a depth EDGE rusher with an acumen for sacking the quarterback from time to time. He’s most famous for sacking Aaron Rodgers with a game on the line at Lambeau Field in 2020 and has since served as “the other EDGE rusher” under the Mike Zimmer and Kevin O’Connell regimes.

He fired up a 58.0 PFF grade in 2022.

Regarding the contract of Justin Jefferson, which is what Vikings fans eagerly await, the Pioneer Press’ Chris Tomasson tweeted Thursday, “Vikings now know when Justin Jefferson 5th-year option picked up by May 1 deadline. He’ll make $19.743 million in 2024. We had reported it’d be between $19-20M.”

Jefferson is expected to break the bank this offseason with a long-term contract.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.