Vikings Rumors: Budget Crash Course, Corner Trade Market, & QB Rumblings Aplenty

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings
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Since we’re officially into the portion of the year when Vikings rumors are arriving fast and furious, we’ll be highlighting some of the purple rumblings.

The “Vikings Rumor Wrangle” is a series that keeps readers informed on what’s being whispered about in Vikings Land. In this iteration, we discuss Vikings fans learning a bit more about the salary cap, Minnesota jumping into the trade market for a corner, and rumblings aplenty about QBs.

Vikings Rumors: 03.06.2024

Rumor #1 — Vikings Fans Got a Crash Course in the NFL Salary Cap

There are some lessons to be learned in the Alexander Mattison situation.

For a long time, the assumption was that moving on from Mattison would only result in freeing up $600,000 in cap space while leaving behind $4,000,000 in dead money. People believed that largely because that’s what Over the Cap — an online authority on the NFL salary cap — suggested.

But then more details about Mattison’s deal began to emerge after Adam Schefter broke the news of the running back being cut.

Nov 5, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison (2) is tackled by Atlanta Falcons cornerback Jeff Okudah (1) during the first quarter at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The initial theories were that the runner’s deal contained offset language, allowing the Vikings to gain back some cap space once a team signed the 25-year-old (yes, he’s still only 25). Not too long after that idea picked up steam, though, Ben Goessling came through with an update.

Take a look at the word from the writer for The Star Tribune: “Multiple sources confirmed the Vikings are planning to release RB Alexander Mattison. He had a guarantee of $2.75 million set to vest on March 15.” Shortly thereafter, Goessling even confirms that a cut would free up $3.35 million.

The point is that guaranteed money often isn’t guaranteed when a deal is completed. Crucially, we need to know when and how money gets guaranteed. Kirk Cousins has been so adamant about snagging fully guaranteed contracts for precisely this reason. The QB wants monetary certainty within a league where it’s often in short supply.

So, keep this in mind when you see deals flying around next week. The precise details surrounding guaranteed money are important.

Rumor #2 — The Trade Market is Offering a Pile of Promising Corners

That’s the word from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

On March 3rd, Fowler contributed to a piece that discussed L’Jarius Sneed, Carlton Davis, and Marshon Lattimore as trade candidates. All of these players have a track record of excellent play. Rounding out the trade possibilities is Donte Jackson, as Fowler elsewhere reports.

Jan 13, 2024; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed (38) reacts against the Miami Dolphins during the first half of the 2024 AFC wild card game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Of the group, Sneed looks like one of the best fits. After all, the man is capable of doing damage as a blitzer while having the ability to move into the slot or play along the outside.

He thrived last season while snagging 900 snaps out wide while having just 23 in the slot. In 2022, though, Sneed moved into the slot for 546 snaps while being along the outside for 361 snaps. The 2021 season featured an even more pronounced divide, seeing Sneed snag 543 slot snaps against 225 along the outside.

Add it all together and L’Jarius Sneed basically ticks all of the boxes. He’s 6’1″, 192 and ran a 4.37. He can move all over the defensive backfield and has had plenty of success as a blitzer. He has won a pair of Super Bowls and is still only 27.

Rumor #3 — The Offseason’s QB Rumblings Have Minnesota Front and Center

As of right now, the Atlanta Falcons look likely to bring Kirk Cousins over to Georgia.

Take a look at the word from Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk: “We can’t get into the specifics, for now. But we’re getting very credible indications that Cousins is seriously considering moving his family to Atlanta. Which would mean, obviously, that he’d be signing with the Falcons.”

Nov 3, 2019; Kansas City, MO, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) warms up before the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Coinciding with the rumors about Cousins travelling south is the reality of Denver moving on from Russell Wilson. And then there’s the ongoing presence of Baker Mayfield — the 1st overall pick back in 2018 — on the open market. Do either of these options make sense in Minnesota? No doubt, some have made the connection.

And then there are the league’s tradeable QBs. Justin Fields stands out, but it remains to be seen if Chicago would do business within the division. Plus, the roster still has Nick Mullens and Jaren Hall. Oh, and then there’s the 2024 NFL Draft and all of those passers Minnesota met with at The Combine. There is a ton that needs to get sorted out, folks.

The Vikings have a bit beyond $37 million in cap space, nine draft picks, and one heck of a QB riddle to solve.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference, PFF, and Over the Cap helped with this piece.

K. Joudry is the Senior Editor for Vikings Territory and PurplePTSD. He has been covering the Vikings full time since the summer of 2021. He can be found on Twitter and as a co-host for Notes from the North, a humble Vikings podcast.