By Jason Wisniewski
I begin with roughly $5.3 million in cap space
(Source: Vikings Cap Calculator)
S Andrew Sendejo, TE Kyle Rudolph, T/G Mike Remmers
Total 2019 Cap Savings = $17.6 million
WR Adam Thielen (2 yr Extension signed through 2022, 2019 cap hit increased by $1.9 million)
Rest of contract= 2020 cap hit=$13.1 mill, 2021 cap hit=$14 million, 2022 cap hit= $15.1 million w/only $2 million dead cap in final yr
Summary: I slapped an $8 million signing bonus onto Thielen’s existing contract but added 2 more years to it. He get’s a deserved raise up to $10 million in 2019 and then his cap number increases over the final 3 seasons The way the contract is structured he’s safe until 2022. In the final year the Vikings can save $13.1 million by cutting or trading him.
Total 2019 Cap Decrease after Extension: -$1.9 million
1.) CB Trae Waynes & WR Laquon Treadwell to Indy for Rd 2 #26
The Vikings get some much needed cap space here. With reports of Mike Hughes rehab going well and him looking to be ready to play a full season without missing any time the Vikings move Waynes for a day 2 pick here by including Treadwell in the deal who no longer fits into the team’s WR future despite Mike Zimmer’s combine coach speak.
Total 2019 Cap Savings from Trade= $10.9 million
2.) DE Everson Griffen to San Francisco for Rd 6#2 & RB Matt Breida
Total Cap Savings from Trade= $9.9 million
The Vikings like Stephen Weatherly a lot and want to extend him long term just like they did many moons ago when the situation was an aging Jared Allen & a young & emerging Everson Griffen. The same thing happens here and it helps the Vikings spend some in 2019 & also have money for the next several years to pay Weatherly long term should he break out further this season. Picking up RB Matt Breida “The Cheeta” is a nice addition because of his cheap contract & ability to re-sign him in 2020 as an RFA since he entered the league originally as a UDFA in 2017 w/San Francisco. Breida is a speedy scat back type (ran a 4.39 forty yd dash) who could help spell Cook in games and also in case Cook were to go down with an injury. He put up over 800 yds rushing last year plus 27 receptions and 5 total TDs from scrimmage as the 49ers backup RB last yr. He’s a very fun & explosive player to watch. He’s going to remind Vikings fans of Jerick McKinnon, who the 49ers of course now have.
Re-Signings, Tenders & Pre-Draft Free Agency
I enter the signing period with $41.8 million in cap space
FB CJ Ham (ERFA Tender, 2019 cap hit= $645 k)
This is a no brainer as Ham is an ERFA and will only cost 645 k against the cap. Ham showed good blocking skills and an ability to catch the football and pass block. He’s a solid FB who can also play RB in a pinch.
P Matt Wile (ERFA Tender, 2019 cap hit= $645 k)
Don’t worry Coach Zimmer said he’s not going to be the holder! That will likely be Kyle Sloter or Adam Thielen according to the man in charge. Since he won’t be the holder then this is another no brainer as an ERFA tender for 570 k. Wile had an outstanding year PUNTING with the Vikings and they should sign him back on the cheap and take care of the Punter spot easily.
C/G Nick Easton (1 yr contract, 2019 cap hit= $805 k)
Easton has wound up on IR the past 2 seasons so he should come cheap on a 1 yr “prove it” deal for the league minimum. When healthy Easton is a fairly effective player at either Center or Guard. He can come in and compete for a starting spot or be a valuable depth piece anywhere on the interior O-line.
K Dan Bailey (1 yr contract, 2019 cap hit $1.5 million)
Bailey seemed to have regained his form in the latter part of this season and with being another year removed from injury he should be ready to have a very good season. Also perhaps changing holders from Matt Wile to a new Punter/Holder could help. A 1 yr deal would be good here and let him battle it out with a UDFA in camp to push him to do his best.
S Anthony Harris (4 yr contract, 2019 cap hit= $3.1 million)
Rest of contract: 2020 cap hit= $5.1 million, 2021 cap hit= $6.1 million, 2022 cap hit=$6.5 million
Summary: $6 million signing bonus. 2019 & 2020 base salaries guaranteed. 2021 & 2022 no guarantee for base salaries. If released in 2020 the Vikings would save $4.6 million for the 2020 cap. If released in 2022 the Vikings could save $5 million for the 2021 cap.
Harris locked down the Safety spot after Andrew Sendejo went down, beating out veteran George Iloka in a competition. He was one of the highest rated Safeties this season by PFF had a knack for big plays and improved the Vikings pass defense. The Vikings should at the very least give him the 2nd rd tender at $3.1 million for 2019 and in my opinion and in this situation just go for a multi year contract with him as Harris is a young and ascending starting safety who’s price tag won’t be too high if you sign him long term right away.
G Rodger Saffold (4 yr contract, 2019 cap hit= $10 million)
Rest of contract: 2020= $10.2 million, 2021=$10.5 million, 2022=$11 million with only $2.5 million in dead cap if released.
Summary: $10 million signing bonus. Base salary guaranteed until final year when only pro rated signing bonus is guaranteed and Vikings can release him and save $8.5 million in cap space for the 2022 season.
The Vikings are rumored to have major interest in Saffold and it’s easy to understand. Saffold is the best Guard in Free Agency and he also happens to be a perfect scheme fit as he ran primarily stretch zone run blocking with the Rams as their starting Left Guard since Sean McVay took over the offense there. This is exactly what Gary Kubiak runs a ton of. At 31 Saffold has several good years still left in him. He should no doubt be the Vikings top priority target in Free Agency as the first building block towards revamping the O-line. The Rams are also reportedly placing a higher emphasis on re-signing Suh & Joyner so Saffold could be the odd man out in LA.
CB Captain Munnerlyn (1 yr contract, 2019 cap hit=$3 million)
Welcome back home Captain! Munnerlyn would be the perfect signing for the Vikings after trading Waynes to help ease the blow to the CB room. He already knows the system, is still a decent player who can make plays and is a nice veteran presence in the locker room. He would instantly improve the CB depth at both Nickel & Outside CB.
**Signing Munnerlyn would not count against the comp pick formula**
WR John “Smokey” Brown (3 yr contract, 2019 cap hit= $7 million
Rest of contract: 2020=$8 million cap hit, 2021 $8.5 million
Summary: $4.5 million signing bonus. 1st 2year guaranteed base salaries. 3rd year only $1.5 million in guaranteed money from the pro-rated signing bonus. Can release him and save $7 million on the 2021 cap.
The Vikings desperately need a legitimate and reliable #3 WR to take double teams off of Stefon Diggs & Adam Thielen. A true home run threat, John Brown can take the top off of a defense and with Lamar Jackson now the starting QB in Baltimore Brown is unlikely to re-sign with the Ravens. He’ll also cost a little less than other big names like Golden Tate & Donte Moncrief. Brown who will turn 29 before the 2019 season was still productive last season as the Ravens #3 WR when Joe Flacco was the starting QB. 4 of his 5 TDs on the season were when he was catching passes from the pocket QB so playing with Kirk Cousins & the Vikings would be attractive for Brown. Brown also finished the year with a 17 yds per reception average as he excels on the deep ball & also does an excellent job of creating yard after catch on comebacks, slants and drag routes.
LB Deone Bucannon (1 yr contract, 2019 cap hit=$6 million)
With Anthony Barr almost certainly gone and the LB class fairly top heavy in the draft it would make sense for the Vikings to sign a LB in Free Agency so that they are not forced to reach for a LB early in the draft with the LB draft class being a bit thin after the first few prospects. He’d be competent LB that is solid against both the run & pass that would be either a stop gap for the team on a 1 yr prove it deal or if he plays very well he could be extended and be a long term solution since he is only.
Total Cap Space After Signings = $9.1 million
The Vikings have shown pre-draft interest in Ford. Ford played both tackle & guard in college and he did both very well but his ceiling is higher as a guard which is where he projects best in the NFL. He’s a tremendous athlete who moves incredibly well which is rare for a man of his massive size. He’s not going to get pushed around or bull rushed by anyone and his strength is off the charts ridiculous. Is a tremendous run blocker and can fit into both zone & power schemes. In pass protection he has very good fluidity against counters and then when he latches on its over. A day one starter with Pro Bowl potential.
Trade Rd 2 #18 & 2020 Rd 3 pick to NY Giants for Rd 2 #5 & 2020 Rd 6 pick
Smith JR is probably the 2nd best blocking TE in this draft behind TJ Hockenson and Smith JR is also an athletic TE expected to run in the 4.6’s at the combine. That would definitely make him the fastest TE on the Vikings roster by far and he’s shown solid hands while at Alabama and had a fantastic senior season putting up a 7 TD campaign in which he averaged over 16 yards per reception. He can definitely threaten the seams and he’s a guy you can leave on the field when you’re running the ball as a dual threat as a pass catcher and a run blocker. Smith JR also possesses excellent YAC ability which he showcased in college and that’s something the Vikings currently don’t have in their current TE group. He’d be an outstanding help to both Kirk Cousins and the Vikings RBs and could really help take the Vikings offense to the next level.
The Vikings have shown interest in Omenihu via a formal interview and it’s easy to understand why. He could be a versatile & movable chess piece for Mike Zimmer’s defense with his ability to play both DE & DT. The Vikings would ideally play him at LDE in their base defense, rotating with Weatherly while moving Hunter over to RDE. Omenihu can use his strength vs the run here. On passing downs Omenihu can kick inside to DT and cause havoc using his speed as a pass rusher. Omenihu used his insanely long arms in college to force a lot of fumbles (4) and also uses them to effectively shed blocks and keep O-lineman off of him and I expect Coach Andre Patterson would emphasize that with him in the pros as well. Expect him to be good enough to play a lot early and he has a Pro Bowl ceiling over the long haul.
Howard is a 4 year starter at Tackle with the scheme flexibility to play in a zone or power scheme. He’ll need refinement but can be the swing tackle right away and provide an upgrade to Rashod Hill in 2019. Similar to Brian O’Neill, Howard started his career as a converted TE from High School and has gone from 260 lbs to 311 lbs over the past several years and can probably add 5-10 more pounds to his frame without losing quickness. With proper coaching it’s likely that Howard can eventually become a starter at RT in a year or 2. He has the upside and shows plus athleticism for the position with a nice blend of strength and lateral quickness.
His size & elite explosive traits really jump out at you. Tested very well at the combine too. He was miscast as a NT in college but a move to 3 tech should help bring out the best in him. Very strong at the point of attack vs the run and shows plus ability to push the pocket. This is another mid rd D-lineman with ho hum college production but great physical traits that I think Andre Patterson & company can mold into a productive starter. Should at least play in the rotation right away.
The Vikings have shown pre -draft interest in Ozigbo. Ozigbo had a breakout year as a senior and put in a solid performance at the East West Shrine Game. A Combine snub who is flying a bit under the radar. He’s a versatile RB who can be used in the passing game as receiver and also shows the want to and has the body to excel in pass protection. He’s the type of big physical back who wears out defenses late in games and uses a nice stiff arm to get additional yards and also runs with his pads low which is impressive for a taller RB. What is surprising about him is that he has some above average speed for such a big RB. His running style would be excellent for a Zone Blocking Run scheme as he is a one cut runner. He’d be a very nice complement to Dalvin Cook and his skill set reminds me a lot of Latavius Murray’s.
Fast Day 3 CB with plus Special teams ability blocking kicks & returning kicks & punts. Went to a small school so there are questions there about the competition he faced but impressed at the Senior Bowl and ran a 4.47 at the combine.
With Kentrell Brothers entering the final year of his rookie contract and the Vikings seemingly not thinking much more of him than a Special Teams player (they went with Eric Wilson an OLB to be the primary backup at MLB to Eric Kendricks last yr when Kendricks was hurt) it makes sense for the Vikings to try and upgrade the backup MLB spot with a player they might have more confidence in on defense than Brothers. Summers is an athletic LB who has the versatility to play all 3 LB spots, is an effective blitzer, is stout against the run and is good enough in coverage to stay on the field in the Nickel. What he needs work on is wrapping up as a tackler. Too often he goes for the big hits. That is fixable with coaching. Imagine Audie Cole but with more speed.
Redwine projects as a box Safety in the NFL. He can match up with Tight Ends & RBs but he’s better in coverage when he’s facing the line of scrimmage rather than with his back turned. He does very well shedding blocks against the run and i a good tackler. Displays decent ball skills on coverage. Best attribute is physicality. Could be an excellent special teams player.
The son of former Vikings OC Pat Shumur the young QB has a strong arm and has the ability to move in the pocket and make plays with his legs. Is a very streaky player. Plays his best in an up tempo offense. Ran a pro style offense in college but played on a run heavy team which affected his ability to complete passes on obvious passing downs. Needs more coaching and more reps but has potential to develop down the road.
Total Cap Space after Rookie Draft Pool Accounting = $7.3 million
- (Rookie draft pool initially only counts $1.8 million vs the cap under the rookie pool formula per Overthecap website until they actually sign their contracts. This cap hit will increase after Roster cuts as the rookies replace players currently on the roster)
Post Draft Free Agency
WR Aldrick Robinson (1 yr contract, 2019 cap hit= $1.5 million)
Robinson is not a true #3 WR but he’s a good #4 or #5 WR and a guy who can provide depth in a pinch and a guy who you can bring on the field when you want to stretch the field. He’s a one trick pony but that one trick is pretty darn good. He’s worth a low risk 1 yr contract for his chemistry with Kirk Cousins and deep speed.
Total Cap Space Remaining after signings= $5.8 million
FINAL Roster Cuts
LB Kentrell Brothers (2019 cap savings= $720 k)
G Danny Isidora (2019 cap savings $595 k)
CB Craig James (2019 cap savings =570 k)
LB Hercules Mata’afa (2019 cap savings =570 k)
FB Johnny Stanton (2019 cap savings =570 k
DE Ade Aruna (2019 cap savings =435 k)
LB Rashard Cliett (2019 cap savings= $495k)
TE Cole Hikutini (2019 cap savings= $570 k)
OT Storm Norton (2019 cap savings= $495k)
WR Jeff Badet (2019 cap savings= $495k)
RB Roc Thomas (2019 cap savings $570 k)
OT Adam Bisnowaty (2019 cap savings= $0)
DT Curtis Cothran (2019 cap savings= $0)
Total Cap Savings from Roster Cuts = $6.2 million
Total Cap Room before Rookie Pool Adjustment signings=$12 million
Rookie Pool Adjustment after Final Cuts ($-5.1 million)
Total Cap Space Remaining after all roster moves= $6.9 million
**Remaining unused 2019 cap space can be rolled over towards 2020 salary cap**
53 Man Roster
QB (2)= K. Cousins/K. Sloter
RB (4)= D. Cook/M. Breida/D. Ozigbo/M. Boone
FB (1)= CJ Ham
WR (6)= S. Diggs/A.Thielen/J. Brown/A. Robinson/C. Beebe/B. Zylstra
TE (3)= I. Smith JR/D. Morgan/T. Conklin
OL (9)= R. Reiff/R. Saffold/P. Elfein/C. Ford/B. O’Neill/T. Howard/N. Easton/A. Collins/C. Edison
DL (9)=D. Hunter/J. Johnson/L. Joseph/C. Omenihu/S. Weatherly/R. Wren/I. Odenigbo/J. Holmes/T. Bower
LB (6)= B. Gedeon/E. Kendricks/D. Bucannon/E. Wilson/T. Summers/D. Downs
CB (6)= X. Rhodes/M. Hughes/M. Alexander/C. Munnerlyn/H. Hill/C. Ballentine
S (4)= H. Smith/A. Harris/J. Kearse/S. Redwine
STs (3)= D. Bailey/M. Wile/K. McDermott
FB Johnny Stanton
RB Roc Thomas
DE Ade Aruna
OT Adam Bisnowaty
WR Jeff Badet
CB Craig James
CB Jaylen Myrick
LB Rashard Cliett
LB Hercules Mata’afa
QB Kyle Shurmur
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