There Is a Deadline for 3 Vikings

Danielle Hunter
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Free agency will arrive on March 11, when the teams are allowed to negotiate with available players. The deals can be signed when the new league year begins on March 13. Minnesota’s general manager, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, has many holes to fill, including that of the starting quarterback and many significant spots on defense.

There Is a Deadline for 3 Vikings

There is a Deadline for 3 Vikings
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When the new league year starts, not only are free agents allowed to sign contracts officially, but the general managers also encounter the acceleration of void years. Those void years help franchises lower the cap hits of a player in the current season as they virtually buy money from the future. However, that credit must be repaid as soon as a player exits.

Whenever a player departs but still has void years on his old contract, those cap hits count against the salary cap in the following season. And that is the reality for three Vikings. Adofo-Mensah could still hand them new deals after March 13, though their dead cap hits would remain. If the team and player agree on a contract extension, that dead cap hit could be spread out for the length of the deal, including possible new void years.

Kirk Cousins

Quarterback Kirk Cousins was the team’s passer for six years, but their ways could part in March. Just last offseason, the Vikes pushed $16 million of the previous year’s cap hit into 2024. His dead cap is $28.5 million if he doesn’t sign a contract extension before March 13. Interestingly, the Vikings could lower Cousins’ cap number in the upcoming season by re-signing him.

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If he intends to stay in Minnesota, the two parties should finalize it before the franchise is on the hook for that hit in 2024 to keep the flexibility.

Cousins started the offseason continuously stating that he wanted to remain with the organization, but his tone has changed a little in the last few weeks. He has shown his worth over the years, though the torn Achilles and increasing age are reasons to be cautious about a new long-term contract.

At this point, all options are on the table.

Danielle Hunter

Like Cousins, Danielle Hunter has been with the Skol Nation for a long time, but the new regime has hesitated to give him a new contract. The Pro Bowler held out of last year’s training camp to get a new one but ultimately earned a raise for his remaining year under contract. In addition to that, the Vikings gave up the right to use the franchise tag.

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His two void years will cost a total of $14,906,668 in 2024 if he isn’t re-signed by March 13.

Hunter has been the team’s top defender for years, so keeping him in the building is crucial. The problem is that other organizations have more cap flexibility and will likely pay him a lot of money to acquire elite outside linebacker production.

Marcus Davenport

While Hunter and Cousins are longtime staples of the franchise, Marcus Davenport just signed last offseason. He was supposed to form a powerful duo on the edge with Hunter, but two ankle injuries kept him out of the lineup for the majority of the season, playing only 118 snaps on defense.

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He showed flashes whenever he was on the field but missed too much time. He signed a one-year deal, limiting the risk, but to save cap space in 2023, the purple team pushed $6.8 million into 2024 by adding four void years.

His deadline was actually February 19, but Adofo-Mensah has bought himself some extra time, just like last year with Dalvin Tomlinson, whose void date was also pushed back.

Davenport is now on a similar timeline as the other two players. His return is unlikely, but it shouldn’t be ruled out for two reasons: The Vikings are desperate to find some pass-rushers, and he will likely sign a bargain bin contract after a disastrous year.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt