Purple Headlines of the Week: Freeing Up Cap Space, a “Big Offseason” Is Coming, a Final Goodbye from a Vikings Starter?

Oct 1, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Jordan Hicks (58) reacts in the fourth quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The first week of the NFL offseason is in the books for 18 NFL teams, and that includes the Minnesota Vikings.

The Vikings held their end-of-season press conference during the week to evaluate how the 2023 season went and what fans can look forward to during the offseason. With the first week of the offseason in the books, here is a look at the purple headlines from the past seven days.

How the Vikings Can Free Up Cap Space

Purple Headlines
Jul 28, 2022; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings have been a cap-strapped team for multiple offseasons now, but it looks like 2024 could be different. Minnesota has done a ton of work to set themselves up as spenders this spring. Currently, the Vikings are projected to have the 12th-most salary cap space in the NFL with a sizeable $36,381,185 to work with, per Over the Cap. However, the Vikings can balloon their cap space even further.

By making the following moves, the Vikings would be able to nearly double their salary cap space (all numbers are again via OTC):

  • Restructure T.J. Hockenson’s contract ($7.1 million saved)
  • Restructure Byron Murphy’s contract (~$5.4 million saved)
  • Restructure Brian O’Neill’s contract (~$8.9 million saved)
  • Cut Harrison Smith (~$11.3 million saved)

If the Vikings pulled the trigger on each of these moves, their salary cap space would go up to $70,309,051.

A “Big Offseason” Is Loading in Minnesota

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Las Vegas Raiders
Dec 10, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell (left) and general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah react during the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

During the end-of-season presser, Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah continuously called 2024 a “big offseason” and “important offseason” for the Vikings in terms of roster construction.

“You want to get to that place in your program […] where it’s consistent year in and year out,” Adofo-Mensah explained. “You can overcome adversity, and we’re not there to that standard yet, no, but we’ve made the playoffs, we’ve been in playoff contention for a lot of this year through a lot of things, so I think we’re pointing in the right direction. It’s gonna take a big offseason.”

It’s an important offseason for a couple reasons. They have a number of major and potentially franchise-changing decisions to make over the next few months. A number of players are set to enter free agency, and the Vikings have nine draft picks along with the aforementioned large chunk of salary cap space to play with. It looks like this should be a fun spring in Minnesota.

A Final Goodbye from a Starter?

NFL: International Series-Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints
Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Jordan Hicks (58) during the NFL International Series game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports

One of the many pending free agents on Minnesota’s roster is starting linebacker Jordan Hicks. The linebacker put together a fantastic season in Brian Flores’ defense, totaling 107 tackles, four tackles for loss, a sack, five passes defended, an interception, and two fumble recoveries this season.

If Minnesota and Hicks are unable to come to a contract agreement this spring, he should be able to get a sizeable deal elsewhere. Hicks sent a message to Vikings fans via a tweet, writing, “Not the ending we wanted, but I’m thankful for it all.” After an emoji, the veteran defender then wrote that it’s time to get “back to work.” Is this a final goodbye from the starter after a fantastic season? Only time will tell.

In Case You Missed It…

NFL: Minnesota Vikings Training Camp
Aug 3, 2023; Eagan, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell and team owner Ziggy Wilf talk at training camp at TCO Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

As usual, we have an extra list of reading material for the especially studious Vikings fans. Happy reading!

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.