By Jason Wisniewski
I begin with roughly $5.3 million in cap space
(Source: Vikings Cap Calculator)
OvertheCap’s website is counting all of the “reserve/future contract” players towards the cap. I will later release many of these players during Final Roster Cuts as I will illustrate below. Some will be re-signed to the Practice Squad but they will not count against the salary cap when they are the practice squad.
S Andrew Sendejo, T/G Mike Remmers, TE Kyle Rudolph
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 = -$1.9 million
1.) CB Trae Waynes & WR Laquon Treadwell to Indianapolis for Rd 2 #27
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 Oakland for G Kelechi Osemele
Both clubs are rumored to be wanting to move on from these players so it’s logical to make a swap here. The Raiders get the Edge rush help they need while the Vikings upgrade their interior O-line. Also the Vikings had interest in Osemele the last time was a UFA and he recently lost 40 pounds making him a fit in the Zone blocking scheme.
Total 2019 Cap Savings from Trade= $300 k
Re-Signings, Tenders & Pre-Draft Free Agency
I enter the signing period with $32.2 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. Update: Vikings have re-signed Ham for $645 k on a yr tender.
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. 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.
C/G Nick Easton (1yr 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. 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. Update: Vikings have interest in re-signing Easton
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 645 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. Update: Vikings have re-signed Wile for $645 k on a yr tender.
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.
LB Jamie Collins (3 yr contract, 2019 cap hit=$6 million)
Rest of contract: 2020 cap hit= $6.2 million, 2021 cap hit=$6.5 million
Summary: $6 million signing bonus, 1st 2 yrs base salary guaranteed. Final yr not guaranteed so only $2 million dead cap if cut in 2021.
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. Collins gives the Vikings a solid & dependable skilled LB for the next several years.
**Signing Collins would not count against the comp pick formula**
RB TJ Yeldon (2 yr contract, 2019 cap hit= $3 million)
Rest of contract: 2020 cap hit= $3.5 million
Summary: $2 million signing bonus, 1 st yr base salary guaranteed, 2020 base salary not guaranteed. Can cut him with $1 million dead for a $2.5 mill savings in 2021.
A very similar player to Latavius Murray, Yeldon would be a good fit for the Vikings as a RB#2. He’s a big back at 6’2 223 lbs who can catch very well out of the backfield, excels as a pass blocker and has nice combination of power and speed. He’s also started 30 games in his 4 year career and can handle a bigger load if needed. He still only 25 years old so there’s more than plenty of gas left in the tank.
CB Kevin Johnson (1 yr contract, 2019 cap hit=$5 million)
A former 1st rd pick of the Texans in 2015 Johnson was either the #3 CB or #2 CB during his tenure with the Texans. He hasn’t exactly lived up to his billing as the 16th overall pick taken in 2015 but he has been a solid player who has shown flashes of greatness when healthy and has shown the versatility to play both Outside CB & Nickel. He’s coming off a season where he was placed on IR after a concussion in Week 1 of the 2018 season and he missed the final 4 games of the 2017 season with an MCL injury. The Vikings were one of the teams that attended Johnson’s Pro Day the year he was drafted and had real interest back then. Perhaps a 1 yr prove it deal and a chance to play for CB whisperer Mike Zimmer could help lure the 26 yr old Johnson to the Twin Cities and put him in Purple. Signing Johnson removes the pressure to draft a CB early in 2019, instead leaving the option to do that in 2020 depending no how things go with Johnson & if Holton Hill can stay out of trouble.
**Signing Collins would not count against the comp pick formula**
DT Domata Peko (1 yr contract, 2019 cap hit= $3 million)
Peko was with Zimmer back in Cincy and can play either Nose Tackle or 3 tech as a run plugger. The Vikings finished #15 overall vs the run last season which was a huge drop from #3 overall in 2017. Being able to spell Linval Joseph more often should help and even going with 2 massive Nose Tackle types on early downs against power run teams and in short yardage could go a long way towards helping to fix that.
Total Cap Space After Signings = $10 million
Trade Rd 1 #18 to Houston Texans for 1 #23 & Rd 3 # 22
The Vikings have shown Pre-Draft Interest in Fant. Fant is the biggest play making receiving TE in this draft class and could provide a Jordan Reed like impact to the Vikings offense as a match up nightmare for opposing defenses. Fant blew up the combine with a 4.50 forty yard dash to go along with 20 bench reps, a 39.5 inch vertical and finishing either 1st or 2nd in cone, & both shuttle drills. His tape backs up the combine performance as well and he shows excellent route running ability in the passing game. Fant is also a decent angle blocker and gives effort there although his forte is definitely as a move TE. With Fant the Vikings can split him out wide, put him in the slot or use him in line. He’d be a tremendous weapon for Cousins and the double teams on Diggs & Thielen would immediately end which would make the offense better.
Trade Rd 2 #18 & 2020 Rd 3 pick to NY Giants for Rd 2 #5 & 2020 Rd 5 pick
The Vikings have shown Pre-Draft interest in Lindstrom. There’s not much to dislike about Lindstrom’s game and in this mock with a bit of a run on O-lineman starting to take place the Vikings do not chance being left out in the cold with a clear hole that needs to be filled and so they move up to get their guy. Lindstrom is tailor made for the Zone run blocking scheme and uses lateral quickness and agility along with great technique with his leg drive and pad levels to move people in the run game and set a nice anchor in pass protection. He has no real weaknesses to his game and is one of the most technically refined interior lineman in this draft class. Day one starter here.
The Vikings have shown Pre-Draft interest in Samuel. When I watch Deebo I see shades of Percy Harvin & Golden Tate in him as he looks like a RB after the catch picking up insane amounts of YAC and he has very good speed to make big plays. He’s one of the most polished route runners in this draft and is very pro ready from day one and could step in immediately as the Vikings WR 3 and help take some pressure off of Diggs & Thielen. He also offers value as a return man where he excelled in college.
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.
Wise is an athletic 3 tech DT who wins with low pads and agility. His 20 yard shuttle & Cone Drills were some of the best for DT’s showing his athleticism and agility for a pass rushing 3 tech and his film also shows that he is best suited to play as a pass rushing 3 tech in the NFL. His player comparison is ironically Tom Johnson who Minnesota is likely looking to replace since he’ll be 35. Wise will have to put on a bit of weight to better hold up against power and he’ll need some coaching but he should be able to provide some pass rush and use his quickness to get tackles for loss vs the run as a disruptor in the backfield. He’ll probably be limited to a 3rd down pass rusher role until he gets stronger.
Miller projects as a pass rushing specialist DE in the NFL and I think Andre Patterson can work wonders with him. He should be to play in the rotation as a 3rd down DE if Weatherly kicks inside for maximum pass rush packages. Will need refinement to his techniques against the run but the physical traits and pass rush ability are there right now.
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. Giles Harris is an instinctive LB who was reliable for Duke as a player that was generally in the right spot in the defense showing good awareness and he also offers good size for the position and should be able to become a solid backup MLB and contribute on special teams with his solid tackling.
Nauta’s poor 40 yard dash at the combine will push him down in the draft but he still has plenty of value as a run blocking TE with solid hands & route running in the passing game. He reminds me a lot of David Morgan and if the Vikings take Fant who is more of a receiving TE it would be nice to have a backup blocking TE to Morgan considering Morgan gets banged up from time to time and the Vikings need to always have a good run blocking TE available on game days.
Johnson could wind up being a diamond in the rough here late in Rd 6 for the Vikings. He’s 6’3 200 lbs, hits hard, is a play maker in coverage and is expected to run in the 4.4’s. He’s being massively overlooked in the scouting community mainly because he is from a small school and did not face elite competition. However Johnson checks all the physical traits boxes, is a smart player who is fundamentally sound and dominated the weaker competition he faced in college so he’s worth a shot here for sure.
Stick has a cannon arm and is a good athlete but there are questions about his decision making & feel for the game and he’s going to need a lot of polish but perhaps a couple years on the practice squad could be good for his development to once day become a serviceable backup. The physical upside is there with his arm and being able to throw on the move but he needs to work on touch/accuracy and make better decisions instead of relying completely on his arm strength to force balls into tight windows.
Total Cap Space after Rookie Draft Pick Signings = $17.1 million
- (Rookie signings only count $1.8 million vs the cap under the rookie pool formula per Overthecap website)
CB Marcus Sherels (1 yr contract, 2019 cap hit= $1.1 million)
While he didn’t have a PR TD this season he came awfully close and had a good average when he was in there. The Vikings all time leader in Punt Return TDs still has plenty of juice left for another cheap 1 yr deal. Update: The Vikings have interest in re-signing Sherels.
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 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= $5.2 million
Final Roster Cuts before Regular Season
DE Tashawn Bower (2019 cap savings =$650)
OG Danny Isidora (2019 cap savings $ 595 k)
LB Kentrell Brothers (2019 cap savings = $720 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 = $6.8 million
Total Cap Space before Rookie Pool Adjustment= $12 million
Total Rookie Adjustment after roster cuts for 2019 cap= – $ 6.3 million
Total Cap Space Remaining after all roster moves= $5.7 million
**Remaining unused 2019 cap space can be rolled over towards 2020 salary cap**
53 Man Roster
QB (2)= K. Cousins/K. Sloter
RB (3)= D. Cook/TJ Yeldon/M. Boone
FB (1)= CJ Ham
WR (6)= S. Diggs/A.Thielen/D. Samuel/A. Robinson/C. Beebe/B. Zylstra
TE (4)= N. Fant/D. Morgan/T. Conklin/I. Nauta
OL (9)= R. Reiff/K. Osemele/P. Elfein/C. Lindstrom/B.O’Neill/T. Howard/N. Easton/A. Collins/C. Edison
DL (9)= D. Hunter/J. Johnson/L. Joseph/S. Weatherly/D. Wise/S.Miller/D. Peko/I. Odenigbo/J. Holmes
LB (6)= B. Gedeon/E. Kendricks/J. Collins/E. Wilson/J. Giles Harris/D. Downs
CB (6)= X. Rhodes/M. Hughes/M. Alexander/K. Johnson/H. Hill/M. Sherels
S (4)= H. Smith/A. Harris/J. Kearse/C. Johnson
STs (3)= D. Bailey/M. Wile/K. McDermott
OT Storm Norton
OT Adam Bisnowaty
FB Johnny Stanton
DE Tashawn Bower
DE Ade Aruna
CB Craig James
CB Jaylen Myrick
LB Rashaad Cliett
LB Hercules Mat’aafa
QB Easton Stick
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