The folks at Over the Cap, one of the internet's best sources of NFL salary cap information, has been taking a look at the best and worst contracts for every NFL team, and have gotten around to our Minnesota Vikings.
Their pick for the Vikings' best contract is a pretty good one, as they choose center John Sullivan. Sullivan signed an extension with the Vikings in 2011, and according to the folks at OTC, the Vikings got a bargain on that deal as well.
Sullivan's cap hits will never crack top 5 in a single season and for the next two years he will be outside the top 10. The Vikings cost to cut in 2015, when he will be 30, is only $1 million and the 2016 season contains no dead money. That makes those two years very easy extension years to keep him at a bargain price as he makes the turn past 30 and into the final phase of his career.
I'm thinking that the Vikings aren't going to have to worry about cutting Sullivan any time soon.
The choice for the worst contract on the roster is, also, a pretty easy pick. That distinction goes to tight end John Carlson, who got a 5-year, $25 million deal in free agency in 2012 and proceeded to do nothing. Even though the team restructured Carlson's deal this past off-season, it still isn't a particularly good one for the team.
Because the Vikings sunk a $5 million dollar signing bonus into Carlson in 2012, his dead money in 2013 was going to be $4 million which made releasing him a tough pill to swallow. The best they could do was reduce his salary by $1.45 million and roll that into an incentive that he can earn by performing better than last season. If released next season Carlson will still count $3 million against the salary cap.
The author said that he almost picked Chad Greenway as the worst contract on the Vikings' roster, and I guess you could make that case given what Greenway makes. He has the third-highest cap hit on the team at $8.7 million, behind only Jared Allen and Adrian Peterson. However, there were some unique circumstances surrounding the team when Greenway got his deal, as the Vikings were looking at three of their marquee players (at the time) facing free agency at the same time in Sidney Rice, Ray Edwards, and Greenway. The team was going to have to franchise one of them. . .and, given the trajectories the other two players have taken in comparison to Greenway, it's fairly easy to say that the Vikings made the correct choice. Is it a slightly higher price than the Vikings might like? Sure. . .but that happens sometimes. I don't think it's an egregiously bad deal by any stretch.
From the looks of things, outside of the Carlson deal and (arguably) the Greenway deal, there aren't a whole lot of bad contracts on the Minnesota roster at the present time. That's another testament to the job that the Vikings have done turning things around after the two-year disaster of 2010 and 2011 and positioning themselves for the future.