Vikings Sitting Pretty in One Big Area

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Get ready for the new normal and a complete change of pace for the Minnesota Vikings.

Vikings Sitting Pretty in One Big Area

It’s the element of cap space, and the Vikings have it this summer, in 2025, and beyond. Even after inking Justin Jefferson for the long haul two weeks ago, Minnesota has ample cap space, more than enough to conduct splashy summer moves if any free-agent attractions or trades cross the team’s radar.

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As of June 16th, the purple team holsters about $26 million in available cap space, also known as the ninth-most in the NFL. The New England Patriots lead the way at $46 million, and the Baltimore Ravens check in last around $6 million.

Normally at this time of the summer calendar — before Kwesi Adofo-Mensah took over as general manager in 2022 — the Vikings pinch pennies in the summer or must convert player contracts to signing bonuses to clear cap space.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah & Kevin O’Connell Talk Free Agent Moves, Future at Quarterback & 2023 NFL Draft in Eagan, Minnesota, on April 13th, 2023. Adofo-Mensah and O’Connell joined the organization in January and February 2022, respectively.

That isn’t the case this summer. No sly tricks are necessary if Minnesota wants to add new players.

The salary cap flexibility enables the Vikings to fill any last-minute roster holes, swing splashy trades if it sees fit, or save the funds for a rainy day in 2025. And although most big-name free agents are long gone from the NFL’s open market, Adofo-Mensah doesn’t have to limit himself to bargain-bin players. In theory, if he wanted to sign a cornerback like Stephon Gilmore, who would ask for more than a veteran minimum, well, the Vikings have the dough.

If You Think the Colts Are a Terrible Football Team, You Are Wrong.
The Indianapolis Colts Stephon Gilmore. © Michelle Pemberton/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK.

What does Minnesota still need via free agency? That’s debatable, but a few areas might need attention. Fans have wondered about the WR3’s identity since K.J. Osborn joined the Patriots in March. Adofo-Mensah could spent a portion of his $26 million on a veteran like Hunter Renfrow or Michael Thomas. Remember, a WR3 need not contribute like a superstar. He’s responsible for posting about 600-700 yards in a season, a task doable for Renfrow or Thomas.

A defensive tackle, too, could be used in Brian Flores’ 2024 defense. Between Jerry Tillery, James Lynch, Jonathan Bullard, Jonah Williams, Jaquelin Roy, and rookie Levi Drake Rodriguez, Minnesota has several options — bodies — but no clear frontrunner to win a starter’s job. Adofo-Mensah could, in theory, pursue a trade for a man like Jonathan Allen in Washington. He has the money for it.

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Not unlike DT, the Vikings have tons of options at cornerback, but intriguingly, the aforementioned Gilmore is available. So is Xavien Howard, who has ties to Flores from the Miami Dolphins days.

Also remember — the NFL features one single roster cutdown day in about 2.5 months. Over 700 free agents will become gettable for NFL teams. Equipped with $26 million, Minnesota could be a major player in the cast-off market, exploring whichever men it considers the cream of the crop.

This is a brave new post-Rick Spielman world for the purple team. It doesn’t occupy the bottom of the barrel for cap space. It’s a nice change of pace, and with no Kirk Cousins to speak for a large portion of the salary cap, this is probably the new standard.

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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