3 Cap-Strapped Teams the Vikings Could Have Their Eyes on During Free Agency

Vikings Had the Worst Draft
Jul 27, 2022; Eagan, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah looks on at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Free agency is less than 50 days away, and once that time arrives, the fireworks of the NFL offseason will begin.

The Minnesota Vikings have a number of roster areas to improve over the next few months, and they could benefit from a few teams that are cap-strapped heading into the offseason. Here are three of those teams that the Vikings could have their eyes on when free agency rolls around.

Buffalo Bills

Bills defensive end A.J. Epenesa celebrates a big third down stop against Pittsburgh in the first half during their game Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022 at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park.

The Buffalo Bills benefited from low cap hits for QB Josh Allen for many years. That time is now over, and Allen is set to carry a cap hit of over $47 million in 2024, and WR Stefon Diggs will also hold a hit approaching $28 million.

As a result, Buffalo currently sits right around $50 million over the salary cap for the 2024 season. Of course, they have ways to free up cap space (including restructuring the contracts of their stars), but they likely will lose a number of contributors in free agency. A number of these pending free agents lie on the defensive side of the ball as well, and the Vikings need to pounce on an opportunity to snatch such players like EDGE A.J. Epenesa and LB Tyrel Dodson.

New Orleans Saints

Cap-Strapped Teams
Oct 30, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Rashid Shaheed (89) catches a pass against Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Rock Ya-Sin (26) during the second half at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The sky is still blue, and the New Orleans Saints still sit at the bottom of the NFL in terms of cap space. Their front office has been doing salary cap gymnastics for nearly a decade, and they will have to do so again in 2024 seeing as they currently sit a whopping $83.6 million over the salary cap. This is about $32 million further in the red than any other team in the league.

This is also a roster that has 24 players set to hit free agency, including DT Malcolm Roach, WR Rasheed Shaheed, and WR Michael Thomas. Especially in the case of Roach, he could be a very interesting piece to add to the Vikings defense. He was a marvelous run defender in New Orleans this season in a rotational role, and with Jonathan Bullard hitting free agency, Roach could be a younger replacement for the veteran on the defensive line.

Miami Dolphins

Nov 13, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah (91) takes the field prior to the game against the Cleveland Browns at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Money is tight in Miami this offseason. They are sandwiched between the Bills and Saints with the second-worst cap situation, sitting at just under $52 million over the salary cap. As a result, the Dolphins must conduct some tap dancing to become cap compliant by the time free agency rolls around.

One potential way to do that is releasing EDGE Emmanuel Ogbah, who currently carries a $17.7 million cap hit for 2024. The Dolphins can save $13.7 million of that cap hit by releasing him. The veteran struggled with injuries during the 2022 season, but despite better health this season, he only appeared in 25% of defensive snaps in 2023.

It seems like a change of scenery would do some good for Ogbah, and seeing as the Vikings have all three of Marcus Davenport, Danielle Hunter, and D.J. Wonnum entering free agency, his resurrection story could happen in Minnesota.

Editor’s Note: Information from Over the CapPro Football Focusand Pro Football Reference helped with this article.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.