The Vikings Will Have Plenty Of Salary Cap Space For Free Agency

Tom Pelissero of 1500 ESPN has done the most detailed breakdown of the salary cap space that the Minnesota Vikings will have in a few weeks that I've seen yet, and based on what he's put together, the team is going to have plenty of money to work with.

As of Monday, according to a source with access to NFL salary data, the Vikings had about $112.4 million in 2012 cap space committed to 57 players on their roster -- including a little more than $110 million to the "Top 51" who will count against the projected $120.4 million cap when the league year begins on March 13.

Roughly $2 million in "dead" money from unamortized bonus proration will be offset by the small amount of unused cap space carried over from 2011, leaving the Vikings more than $10 million under their adjusted 2012 cap. And that's before they even touch the contracts of several veterans who could be restructured or released in the next few weeks.

Dumping guards Steve Hutchinson ($7 million cap number for 2012) and Anthony Herrera ($3,583,335) and cornerback Cedric Griffin ($4.65 million) would give the Vikings another $13 million to work with even after cap hits from two of those deals. None of the three is in the long-term plans of a rebuilding team coming off a 3-13 season.

Pelissero is generally pretty thorough with his work, so I'm inclined to believe his numbers here. And I don't think anybody is expecting Hutchinson, Herrera, or Griffin back. So, the Vikings are looking at somewhere in the neighborhood of $23 million, provided they don't restructure anyone else's contract or anything like that. He also briefly mentions linebacker Erin Henderson and safety Husain Abdullah, both of whom could be resigned for the "right price," whatever that might be. In addition, I wouldn't be surprised to see Remi Ayodele get the axe, too, which would free up another three and a half million, according to the article.

So, the question is no longer if the Vikings can make a splash in free agency, but rather how big a splash they'll be making.

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