Five Vikings Are Gobbling Up An Incredible Amount of 2022 Salary Cap

The incoming general manager – interviews are ongoing – will need to be adept at financial gymnastics. Anything less will mean a disastrous budget in 2022. Indeed, the Vikings have a remarkable amount of their 2022 salary cap eaten up by a mere five players.

Take a look at this handy pie chart:

Obviously, the Vikings won’t go into 2022 with this same salary cap breakdown, but it’s notable they find themselves in this position.

Kirk Cousins is obviously the main name here. He makes up 21.4% of the overall budget. People in finance have a term for that: yikes. Danielle Hunter is next on the list with a cap number that comes in at 12.4% of the cap. In fairness, Hunter is indisputably an elite player at his position, and yet the back-to-back seasons of serious injuries gives one concern.

I’ve long insisted that Adam Thielen is a prime cut candidate. Now, that’s not what I want to happen, nor is it something that will be beneficial for the team in these next couple years. A far more productive solution would involve approaching the vet for a restructure. The team should also look into that option for Eric Kendricks, who will be even more important since they’re entering a defensive overhaul.

The chances of the team moving on from Harrison Smith seem low. He was signed to a long extension during this past offseason. Mind you, the incoming GM won’t feel the same degree of loyalty to him, but he’s still an impact player with a brand new deal.

There are all kinds of ways to manipulate the salary cap. The issue, of course, is that many of the solutions often still involve some financial ramifications. A trade can be productive, and yet it often leaves behind dead money. Ditto for a cut. Sensible restructures and/or extensions make sense. If a player or two agrees to a pay cut, then that’ll go a long way in helping Minnesota sort out the numbers.

The Vikings, in all likelihood, won’t be able to be major players in free agency. That doesn’t mean they won’t sign players who make a positive impact. Rather, it means they’ll get out-muscled by teams who have oodles of cap room. Major bidding wars aren’t in this team’s immediate future. Moving around money will be imperative for the team to function, so the new GM will need to be shrewd.