March 13 Is Turning into Quite the Judgment Day for Vikings

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The Minnesota Vikings and 31 other NFL teams are two weeks away from free agency, as “legal tampering” begins on March 11th.

March 13 Is Turning into Quite the Judgment Day for Vikings

That date is, of course, ultra-important for the Vikings because players can begin chatting with teams about contracts, and Minnesota will have its most cap space available to spend in years.

Judgment Day
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But March 13th is the official drop-dead deadline, and here’s why,

Marcus Davenport Verdict

Vikings Buy Time
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Last Monday, ESPN’s Kevin Seifert tweeted, “Update: The Vikings re-negotiated the void date on Marcus Davenport’s deal this weekend. It now matches the expiration date for the deals of Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter (3/13). A little more time to see if there is any common ground. Davenport’s deal will NOT void today.”

The procedural move to March 13 leaves the door open for an affordable Davenport reunion, although most don’t believe that will materialize. If March 13th passes with no Davenport extension, Monday’s move won’t matter. There was no downside to the maneuver uplifted in the Seifert tweet.

However, if nothing more occurs with Davenport’s contract, $6.8 million in dead cap will hit the Vikings’ books on March 13th.

Danielle Hunter Verdict

No Franchise Tag
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Just like Davenport, Hunter’s dead cap funds are scheduled to calcify to the Vikings 2024 budget on March 13th, though his number is significantly larger at roughly $15 million. Minnesota is tentatively expected to re-up with Hunter, though, unlike Davenport, and the $15 million can be spread out among the next deal’s years.

Otherwise, Hunter will command the utmost attention on the open market if Minnesota isn’t interested in a reunion. He concocted a career year in 2023, his age-29 season, tabulating 16.5 sacks, a career-high. That mark also ranked fifth leaguewide, trailing T.J. Watt (19.0), Trey Hendrickson (17.5), Josh Allen (17.5), and Khalil Mack (17.0).

Kirk Cousins Verdict

A Kirk Cousins Split
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The granddaddy of them all, Cousins’ $28.5 million dead cap becomes official on March 13th without a Vikings extension. Similar to Hunter, the $28.5 million can be peppered out to upcoming years of Cousins’ would-be next contract, but no matter what, Minnesota is on the hook for that money. It’s important to note that the funds have already been paid to Cousins, so any talking point you see in the next 10 months claiming “the Vikings are paying Kirk Cousins not to play” is false. It’s accounting, not ongoing payment.

For about seven weeks of the young offseason, Cousins’ future has dominated all things Vikings, and March 13th can reasonably called the almighty end date. If Minnesota prefers to maneuver the existing $28.5 million dead cap into future years, a decision must be made by then.

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).

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