Vikings in Undesirable Spot, Says One Analyst

vikings
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings have about $37 million in available cap space entering the offseason, an elevation over recent years when the club would start in the red or only holster a few million bucks.

But that doesn’t impress everybody.

Vikings in Undesirable Spot, Says One Analyst

Minnesota entered a pivotal offseason Sunday evening, needing to decide on Kirk Cousins’ future, extend Justin Jefferson for the long haul, probably lock up Danielle Hunter for a few years, and fortify a defense that showed glimpses of promise under first-year defensive coordinator Brian Flores in 2023.

in Undesirable Spot
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That’s the wish list in a nutshell, but the founder of OverTheCap.com, Jason Fitzgerald, claimed Sunday that the Vikings are in “no man’s land.”

He tweeted, “Vikings should have about $27.5 million in cap room next year. Jefferson extension on the horizon and big decision on Kirk Cousins. Kind of in no mans land with that roster.”

The $27.5 million instead of $37.5 million that his website illustrates is apparently a byproduct of the Vikings’ signing 10 players to futures contracts on Monday. So, before the franchise makes any moves with Harrison Smith’s contract, for example, Minnesota will evidently check in around $27.5 million in cap space.

Hope to Avoid Doomsday
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On “no man’s land,” well, the Vikings announced two years ago that they’re undergoing a competitive rebuild period. That means rebuilding the roster on the fly while hoping to win games — and basically not “tank” as some fans have yearned for over the last couple of years. Many prefer the Vikings to bottom out, sabotage themselves, and correspondingly fetch a high draft pick. Then, the club could draft a quarterback with the 1st- or 2nd-Pick and hope that man doesn’t turn out like Trey Lance, Blake Bortles, or countless others. Of course, there is no evidence in the NFL that tanking consistently works and is, in fact, illegal.

But because the Vikings have rolled with Cousins in back-to-back seasons as QB1, with brand new leadership to boot, a sect of the team’s fans erroneously continues to state, “They keep running it back.” In reality, Minnesota has 11 players scheduled to be under contract held over from the beginning of general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s tenure. The Vikings actually have one of the most significant roster turnovers in the NFL in the last two years; it’s just that folks see Cousins as QB1 and feel the product is the same. Nuance is rare.

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The roster will contain 90 players in May, and if the 11-player mark holds relatively still, that will signify about 80%-90% roster turnover since Adofo-Mensah took the big job.

For some, though, like Fitzgerald, that’s “no man’s land” and not a competitive rebuild.

Other franchises have parlayed strategies like competitive rebuilds into Super Bowl or generally winning programs. The Philadelphia Eagles transferred from the Chip Kelly era into the club that won the Super Bowl in 2017 without tanking and were in no man’s land from 2015 to 2016 (7-9, 7-9). The Kansas City Chiefs switched from Alex Smith to Patrick Mahomes in 2016-2018. And the Buffalo Bills went 9-7, 8-8, 7-9, 9-7 in the four seasons before drafting Josh Allen.

Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

What does this mean? Well, it’s not “no man’s land.” Everything about Vikings football boils down to Adofo-Mensah drafting the right quarterback in this upcoming draft or in 2025. The moment Cousins is not the QB1, folks will say or think, “They’re finally rebuilding.”

But the truth is the Vikings have been rebuilding the roster — at breakneck speed — for the last two years.


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,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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

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