Vikings Salary Cap in a Reasonably Strong Spot

Mar 1, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah during the NFL Combine at the Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

According to Brad Spielberger, the Vikings’ salary cap is in a reasonably strong spot.

The PFF cap expert has Minnesota at 14th overall in the evaluation of NFL teams’ cap health over the next three seasons. Factors that go into the analysis involve rookie draft capital, cap space, RFAs, and various other items. Mix it all together and we have Minnesota finishing in the top half of the league.

In Spielberger’s mind, the Vikings managed their salary cap well during the offseason. The team has some flexibility moving forward:

A new regime in Minnesota largely maintained the status quo this offseason, but to their credit, the Vikings didn’t do anything to jeopardize their ability to revamp this roster long-term. A complete teardown was sought by many, and still may prove to have been the better approach, but with a weak NFC North and NFC at large, it shouldn’t come as a total surprise that they elected to take at least one more shot with this nucleus of players.

Most importantly, Kirk Cousins‘ one-year extension was effectively just proactively franchise-tagging a player who cannot realistically be franchise-tagged again in his career after receiving two tags from the Washington Commanders. Cousins’ one-year, $35 million extension leaves the door open for a trade after the 2022 season if Minnesota elects to finally move on and start fresh. 

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Long story short, absent a total rebuild, this was probably the smartest way for the Vikings to approach the offseason, as they bought themselves time to let things play out and allow their 2022 results to choose a direction for them.

Many were disappointed with Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s effort to find a middle way, as Spielberger suggests. He neither fully went for it nor did he embrace a rebuild. One benefit, though, is that it allows him to get his feet underneath himself. If his team performs well in 2022, then it’s full steam ahead with this group. If things go poorly, then a rebuild can begin in 2023 (and then we can discuss the Baker Mayfield option).

Currently, the Vikings have a hair over $10.9 million in cap room. As Dustin points out, a few rookies still haven’t put pen to paper. In other words, the team doesn’t have that full amount available. Next year, the cap looks snug, but there are a lot of options to create room. Plus, 2024 is looking pretty wide open. We’ll see how Minnesota does this year. If the Vikings do well, the salary cap will be trickier to manage since the team will be looking to maintain a competitive roster.