Vikings Free Agency: Will The Jennings And Cassel Contracts Take Up Most Remaining Cap Space?

Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE

The Vikings jumped into the free agent pool on Friday by signing WR Greg Jennings. They still need some more help at a few positions, but is there cap room available for them to make any more moves?

Top of the mornin' gang, Happy St Patrick's Day to you! I want you to read this entire post in your head with an Irish brogue accent, okay? See, now that you just read that, you're going to, aren't you laddy? Aye, you are.

With Greg Jennings in the fold, the Vikings WR situation looks better than it did on Friday morning, but it's still an area that needs to be addressed, as we've discussed earlier this weekend. But if the Vikings continue kicking the tires on free agents, is WR the next position they need to look at, or do they need to bring in somebody else?

There are several areas that the Vikings need to look at besides receiver. Cornerback, middle linebacker, and defensive tackle are also needs that have to be filled, and there are several players that might be additions that make sense.

The only problem, it would seem, is the amount of room under the salary cap. Currently, according to spotrac.com, the Vikings are sitting $13.6 million under the cap, but neither the Jennings contract or Matt Cassel contract has yet to be calculated against that.

Cassel's should be pretty straightforward: 1 year, $4 million. I'm assuming the Vikings don't want any dead money in out years coming from a backup QB position, so let's assume that entire amount will be applied to the 2013 cap. That drops the cap space down to $9.6 million.

Rob Brzezinski, Vikings capologist, is about as good as anyone in the business in making big contracts cap friendly, and with all of Jennings' guaranteed money coming in the first three years of the deal, you would have to think that most of the chunk of the remaining cap space in 2013 will go towards that deal.

Assuming the guaranteed money for Jennings is close to the average of the contract, which is $9.5 million, the available cap space for the Vikings is pretty much gone. Now, there will be some adjustments made for Jennings (and maybe even Matt Cassel) to make sure that the Vikings will have enough money to sign their rookies and restricted free agents like AJ Jefferson, so assuming no other contracts are re-structured (other than Charlie Johnson's) the Vikings would appear to be done in free agency.

However, they can still try and re-work deals with two of their best players with two of the biggest contracts.

DE Jared Allen has a whopping 2013 cap hit of over $17 million, of which $3 million is in dead money. DT Kevin Williams has a cap hit of over $7 million. If the Vikings could somehow reduce the cap numbers on Allen and Williams, it might allow them to pursue one or two more free agents, like a Brandon Lloyd or an Elvis Dumervil, two names we've seen pop up here on DN in recent days.

Even with re-structured deals from Allen and Williams, those two would seem to be too expensive and out of reach, though. Some bargains might be found with guys like WR Ted Ginn, Jr or LB Ray Mauluga, and I'm sure we all have guys we'd like to see wearing purple, coughBrianUrlachercough.

But it seems pretty apparent that until the Vikings can somehow free up some cap space, they're done shopping, at least for the time being.

Edit: Apparently, Cassel's contract is already calculated, so only the Jennings contract needs to be subtracted from the $13 million cap number. If that's the case, and assuming Jennings' cap hit will be around $7-8 million, the Vikings wll still need to do some re-structuring if they want to add another free agent and have enough room left for the rookie salary pool. It's a little more wiggle room, but not much. Sorry for the confusion--Ted

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