One Vikings Sin to Be Cleansed in about 8 Months

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Soon, Minnesota Vikings fans won’t have to hear any doomsday statistics about dead cap money.

One Vikings Sin to Be Cleansed in about 8 Months

This season, though, the sin persists as contracts from the Rick Spielman era continue to fall off the books. In fact, per dead cap spending in 2024, the Vikings rank third-most or third-worst at $57.3 million.

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Who’s the culprit? Well, the answer is complicated. Foremost, Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter left the organization in March, and that duo accounts for about $43 million of the 2024 dead cap figure. Minnesota paid the price to move onto J.J. McCarthy and Dallas Turner as Cousins and Hunter replacements, sunset contracts from the Spielman era.

The rest of the dead cap — small in comparison to Cousins and Hunter — applies to Marcus Davenport, Dalvin Cook, Dean Lowry, and Alexander Mattison.

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In addition to the Cousins + Hunter deals and Spielman’s budget tendencies, $57.3 million in dead cap for 2024 is the final payment for Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s, the current general manager, competitive rebuild. He took the big job in 2022 and decided to turn over Minnesota’s roster incrementally instead of trading Cousins and Hunter, for example. And thank god Adofo-Mensah didn’t splurge on a rookie quarterback in his first draft. That class, outside of Brock Purdy, is already notorious for flops like Kenny Pickett and Malik Willis.

But a new day is on the horizon. The Vikings are on tap to go from third-worst in dead cap funds to just six thousand bucks in 2025. That is — a decrease from $57 million to $6,000 from 2024 to 2025. The high prices from Cousins and Hunter will soon fly off the books, and it’s unlikely that Minnesota will shove dead cap onto the 2025 ledger.

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The Vikings are essentially scheduled to be free and clear of the dead cap scourge after 2024. Adofo-Mensah, as it stands, will have the eighth-most funds on hand to spend on free agents next March, and normally, when an offseason begins, the Vikings are closer to eighth-least than eighth-most.

Of course, after 2024, Justin Jefferson’s megadeal will kick in, and the year after that, Christian Darrisaw’s money will presumably flow onto the budget. However, Minnesota can live cheap at quarterback — the position that sucks most of the salary cap for contending teams — until the end of 2028. The end of that season is also conveniently when Jefferson’s deal is set to expire. Adofo-Mensah aligned the conclusion of Jefferson’s and McCarthy’s contracts after 2028.

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The takeaway? Dead cap anguish will only last eight more months. The competitive rebuild is over. In March, Minnesota will have a bonanza of cash to spend, chiefly because the dead cap era will be kaput.

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 MIN 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