The National Football League released their final number for the salary cap for the 2013 season yesterday, and it will sit at exactly $123 million. That's slightly higher than expected. . .but, as ESPN 1500's Tom Pelissero points out, it's still lower than the final capped year of the previous Collective Bargaining Agreement, when the figure sat at just a shade below $128 million.
Right now, the Vikings are approximately $14.2 million under the salary cap. The salaries that count against the cap are the "Top 51" salaries on the 53-man roster, and the Vikings have approximately $118 million committed to those players. They also have about $418,000 of "dead money" that counts against their cap.
They are also carrying over a shade over $8 million in unused cap space from 2012, and receive an extra $1.643 million from the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins going just a bit overboard during the "uncapped" year of 2010. Do all that math, and that gives you approximately $14.2 million in salary cap space.
That's not to say that the Vikings can't increase that number. They can, and they most likely will. The first increase will likely come from the dumping of wide receiver Michael Jenkins, who is due a $2.425 million roster bonus in a couple of weeks. Releasing him would open up another $3.25 million of salary cap space, putting the Vikings closer to $17.5 million.
As Pelissero points out, the team will likely also approach Antoine Winfield, Kevin Williams, and (especially) Jared Allen about restructuring their contracts. The three of them have a combined cap hit for 2013 of about $31.75 million, with Allen accounting for $17 million of that figure.
So, the Minnesota Vikings should have plenty of money to spend going into the free agent feeding frenzy on March 9. How much of it will they use to pursue other players? How much will they use to potentially extend players that they already employ? We'll all know in a couple weeks.