Kwesi Adofo-Mensah Can Still Supercharge the Vikings Salary Cap Space

Have a New Draft
Feb 28, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo‐Mensah speaks to the press at the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

Currently, money isn’t overly abundant for the Vikings. Nevertheless, the Vikings are still in a good position to open up a lot more cap room. Kwesi Adofo-Mensah can supercharge the Vikings salary cap space if he wanted to do so.

Several moves to retain internal players – Andrew DePaola, Garrett Bradbury, Nick Mullens, Greg Joseph – have gobbled up cap space even as Kirk Cousins’ adjusted deal opens up some 2023 options. There are the deals for Josh Oliver, Marcus Davenport, and Byron Murphy.

Vikings Latest Free
Oct 20, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive end Marcus Davenport (92) against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

We’ve been able to glean some insight on the 2023 cap implications on some of these deals. Per Ben Goessling, the QB2 is going to have a $1.572 million cap hit, the C1 a $2.6 million cap hit, and the new CB1 a $5 million cap hit (these numbers aren’t ironclad but, rather, strong estimates that’ll be close to the final number). Overall, some really nice work from Kwesi Adofo-Mensah to navigate a challenging budget in 2023.

Minnesota, in short, isn’t going to need to push all of their potential extensions, restructures, and cuts to the max. They have the luxury of being able to slow play some of the financial decisions.

That being said, it’s worth remembering that options do exist. Just take a look at 3 very plausible scenarios and then the potential cap savings:

PlayerTransactionPotential Savings
Hockenson, T.J.Extension$6,599,200
O’Neill, BrianRestructure$10,065,000
Smith, Za’DariusTrade$12,156,861

None of these deals are unlikely. In fact, there’s an argument to be made that a Hockenson extension, O’Neill restructure, and Smith trade are the likeliest outcomes for the trio of players. Pulling off these deals could open up close to $29 million in 2023 cap space. Keep in mind that we haven’t even considered expensive veterans like Harrison Smith, Dalvin Cook, and C.J. Ham.

While a lot of the players have been scooped up, several impact free agents remain. Many of the best fits are still out there.

Looking for some extra help for the corners? Rock Ya-Sin could add some much-needed experience (with plenty youth given that he’s only 26). What about some extra help at linebacker? Bobby Wagner is someone to monitor. Though older, he’s still an elite option.

One Working Theory
Sep 20, 2020; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver D.J. Chark (17) before the game against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Up front, adding another pass rusher or two would make a ton of sense. Justin Houston, Melvin Ingram, Frank Clark, and Jadeveon Clowney are available. The Vikings could even pivot toward the WR2 spot, adding some speed by looking toward Darius Slayton, D.J. Chark, Mecole Hardman, or Parris Campbell.

The broader point, folks, is that the Vikings have some options. More importantly, Adofo-Mensah has the ability to open up enough room to keep adding notable talent. The young executive has been doing some excellent work. Let’s see if he has another trick or two up his sleeve.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference and Over the Cap helped with this piece. This piece originally appeared on PurplePTSD on March 15, 2023. It has been lightly edited to account for a couple changes.