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Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas Mock!

Once again it is that time of year to spread the good cheer with a Xmas Mock. The Vikings are picking 9th right now with the chance to move up possibly to the #7 spot or drop down to the #14 spot. The Fearless Leader used the mockingthedraft estimate of #8. I used and to come up with the #9 spot.

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Overthecap has the Vikings top 51 players at $131,667,436 but that includes Ben Tate's 2.95 mil which needs to be subtracted.

Jason LaConfora tweeted this on Dec 9th at 11:13 PM about the estimated 2015 salary cap ..

NFL Management Council informed teams at league meeting today '15 cap projects b/n $138.6M-$141.8M. I bet it ends up higher.

Since it is Christmas we will go with the $141,800,000 number.

That will give the Vikings $13,697,292 to use.

CC had the Vikings with just over 8.6 mil using a 140 mil projected cap here ...

...  add 3 mil to his number of thereabouts and we are roughly in the same ballpark.

Right off the bat I would like to point out how I was basically castigated for suggesting that the Vikings attempt to trade Allen or outright cut him last year rather than pay him 14.28 mil.  As it turns out, he did not perform like a lot of his proponents claimed he would (in 2013 or even this year) and that money was basically wasted.  Imagine if the Vikings let him go.  They would have had an extra 14.28 mil to play with last year and could have carried it over (some or all of it) to this year.  That was a major blunder on the front office's part IMHO.  You may disagree and that is cool.  I will forever hold that opinion.

So now we get to the upcoming off season.

The first question is obviously what to do about AP and his salary.  There are plenty of people (I would say the majority) that feel the Vikings should keep him and pay him the 13 mil he has coming and absorb the 15.4 mil cap hit.  I definitely disagree with this opinion.  Not because I do not like AP but because it is way too much for a RB.  The next highest paid RB will be LeSean McCoy who will be getting 10.25 mil.  Matt Forte is getting 7.8 mil, Jamaal Charles is getting 6.7 mil, and Marshawn Lynch is getting 7 mil.

There is no way that AP is worth that much more than these other backs.  And AP is likely to be standing on the sidelines on 3rd downs.  This is absolutely criminal that he does not play on 3rd downs.  Maybe Turner is going to use him more but there must be a reason why none of his other coaches trusted him enough to play on the most important down of drives.

I just do not see how anyone can justify paying a RB that much money looking at the RB market.

I know some people will come with the crazy retort that since the Vikings can afford to do it then it is OK. I just do not even know what to say to this kind of thinking because I do not believe in it at all.  If a guy is overpaid then you should not continue to pay him unless you are going to take a massive cap hit.

So what can the Vikings do?  AP has stated publicly that he sees no reason why he should take less money next year.  How can the Vikings approach him about a restructure.  As I said, if they can get him to agree to a reasonable deal going forward then I have no problem with keeping him.  I still would, in my heart, go another direction.

How would you redo his deal?  Offer him an 8 mil signing bonus and a 5 mil salary this year with 13 mil guaranteed.  Then make his salary 8 mil next year. Then 10 mil the year after that and 12 mil the year after that.  That is a 4 year 43 mil deal.  Right now he has a 3 years and 45 mil remaining on his contract.  Surely he has to know that he will not get that on the open market no?

If the Vikings did offer him the 4 year 43 mil deal then next year his cap hit would be 7 mil, in 2016 it would be 10 mil, in 2017 it would be 12 mil, and in 2018 it would be 14 mil.  The dead money hits if they release him would be 6 mil in 2016, 4 mil in 2017, and 2 mil in 2018.

I think that is reasonable but I really do not think he will go for it.

So in this XMas Mock he is getting traded.  I know people think it will be hard to trade him with his deal but if he gets a chance to go to a team with a reasonable shot at contending then he probably will be more amenable to a restructure.

The team I think that can really use him is the Patriots.  They have Vereen and Ridley as free agents and neither one has been overly impressive for various reasons.  They have very little cap room for next year but they have to make a decision about Darrelle Revis before the end of the 2014 league year. If they decide to keep him he is due a 12 mil roster bonus plus his 7.5 mil salary. His cap hit in 2015 would be 25 mil.  I do not see that happening.  Either they come to an agreement on a new deal or it is via con dios.

Brandon Browner is also due a 3.6 roster bonus plus a salary of 1.9 mil.  If they let him go then they save the full 5.5 mil on the cap.

I would be willing to bet money that they Browner go and do a new deal with Revis or flat out let him go (but first try to trade him).

I would be willing to accept a 3rd round pick in 2015 and a conditional pick in 2016. I have a feeling they would only be willing to give a 4th round pick in 2015 though.  Either way that would be good enough for me.

I really do not think a trade is going to be possible because the offers are going to be crappy and frankly, insulting.

This brings me back to the decision to keep Allen.  Having his money carried over to this season would have allowed the Vikings the "luxury" of at least letting AP get the full 13 mil next year before saying adios.  But, of course, I still would not want to do it.

Even if the Vikings are willing to be so stupid (IMHO) to pay AP the full 13 mil next year what will they do in 2016 when he is due 15 mil? Are we going to have the same conversation after next season?  Are the same supporters going to tell us that it is OK since the Vikings can afford it?  I really, really, really, think this is beyond stupid.  Paying a RB 15 mil would be insane!

So, after all that garbage, I think the Vikings should trade him for whatever they can get.

The Vikings trade AP and their 2015 6th round pick to the Patriots for their 2015 3th round pick and a conditional 2016 4th round pick depending on his performance.

The next huge deal belongs to Greg Jennings who is due 9 mil with an 11 mil cap hit. There is no justification possible for paying a 32 year old WR that much money.  Right now he has 56 catches for 697 yards and 6 TDs.  Add on another 8 catches for 100 yards and 1 TD and you still are looking at 64 catches for 800 yards and 7 TDs.  All of that for the low low price of 9 mil bucks.

I just do not see how that he is worth that much money.  I also do not see how a restructure is going to work at all but I do recognize that it is possible as CC pointed out in his first off season plan.  I just would not do it.

Jennings is a great guy by all accounts.  He should be let go so he can find a team where he has a chance to possibly win a ring.

I do not want to see him taking ANY snaps away from CP84.  CP84 needs to play and needs to play as much as possible.  Sitting on the sidelines is not helping him.  Johnson will need to play too.  Wright should be in the slot.  You still have Theilen too.  That leaves a nice prime spot for a rookie like Jaelen Strong, Devante Parker, Amari Cooper, Rashad Greene, etc.

I think the Vikings need to grow the young WRs alongside Teddy. No use wasting time throwing the ball to Jennings who clearly is not going to be back in 2016 at age 33 for another 9 mil right?

I just do not see the reason to delay and to not give the youngsters every opportunity.

If the Vikings let Jennings go they will save 5 mil on the cap.  The question is can you replace Jennings production for 5 mil. I say yes because CP84 is on the roster already.  The Vikings will just need to add some depth via the draft or even via free agency possibly.

So Jennings is gone.

With AP & Jennings gone that gives the Vikings 18 mil more in cap space.

The next huge deal belongs to Chad greenway who is due 7.1 mil next year.  I do not see that happening.  I am not sure what a restructure would look like but I think it could be time to say adios.

The next two players that I would let go are Charlie Johnson and Jerome Felton. That would save 5 mil more.

Adding in the 18 + 7.1 + 5 mil to the 13.697 in cap space gives the Vikings $43.797 mil in cap space.

The first thing I would do with the cap space is extend Harrison Smith.  I think a 5 year 45 mil deal is about right.  Maybe the Vikings can get him for 40 mil over 5 years?  Jarius Byrd signed a 5 year 54 mil deal.  TJ Ward signed a 4 year 22.5 mil deal.  Either way they need to take care of him before signing any other free agent.

I think the first free agent everyone wants to target is Mike Iupati.  I think every team's fans feels the same way too.

So in this mock I would go after Orlando Franklin OG Denver.

I would offer him more than Louis Vasquez received which was 4 year 23.5 mil or so.  I think 4 year 30 mil might do the trick.  If I had to go higher then I would.  It is risky paying guards too much money though.

The next player I would target is Devin McCourty S New England. This is tricky because of the Smith extension which will be pricey.  The question is do you want to tie up that much money in your safeties?  Considering the draft is not very deep at safety (supposedly) this may be a wise investment.  It is hard to say what kind of deal it would take to get McCourty but it has to be close to what Dashon Goldson received in 2013 which was a 5 year 47.5 mil deal.

If the Vikings did sign McCourty and extend Smith then the safety position would be very high priced.  But it is worth it to me. I am sick and tired of not having a good safety duo.  Smith was an excellent pick and Spielman deserves credit for moving up for Smith.  Maybe Exum will be the guy to take over the other spot?  Maybe they like Blanton or Sendejo?  I don't know.  I would want to upgrade personally.

The next player I like is Buster Skrine CB Cleveland. I think he is pretty good and has played well this year.  It may take a pretty decent deal to get him signed.  I would think that 4 years at 24 mil would be good.

The next player I liked to sign is Rey Maualuga LB Cincinnati.  He knows Zimmer's defense and would be a pretty good veteran presence.  I think he has some coverage limitations so it is possibly he comes off the field on some 3rd downs.  But he is a very good run defender.  I think a 4 year 20 mil deal would be good.

I think that the remaining free agents that could be signed are Tom Johnson & Corey Wooten.  I think the team may look at a RB like Roy Helu or Mark Ingram.  I think a couple of wide receivers that may be interesting are Hakeem Nicks and Kenny Britt.

So, in summary, I am proposing to bid adieu to the following players ...

Adrian Peterson, Greg Jennings, Chad Greenway, Charlie Johnson, and Jerome Felton.

I want to sign as free agents the following players ...

Devin McCourty, Orlando Franklin, Buster Skrine, & Rey Maualuga.

I want to extend Harrison Smith.

After all of these cuts and additions the Vikings could still have about 18 mil in cap space.

I thought hard about going after Jason Pierre-Paul and letting Robison go.  But that would be expensive.  There are some top WRs that are going to be free agents but I think the majority are going to stay with their teams.

Signing McCourty on top of extending Smith is also probably not likely but if I was in charge I would try.  It is a risk but I am willing to take it to improve the secondary.

So now we get to the mock draft.  The Vikings are picking 9th and have gained a 3rd round pick and lost a 6th round pick in the AP trade.

9. DeVante Parker WR Louisville Sr 6-3 209
41. *Mario Edwards DE Florida State Jr 6-3 294
73. *Ereck Flowers OT Miami (Fla.) Jr 6-5 324
96. Jeremy Langford RB Michigan State rSr 6-0 205
105. Paul Dawson OLB TCU Sr 6-2 230
137. Quinten Rollins CB Miami (Ohio) rSr 6-0 203
201. Bryce Hager ILB Baylor rSr 6-1 235

I did not do any trades in this one but you have to believe that the Vikings will drop down one or two spots and pick up an extra 4th or 5th in the process.

An alternate scenario would be to somehow, someway get AP to agree to a restructured/extended deal. I mean he has to know that he is not going to get 15 mil and 16 mil from any team to play RB.  No way no how.  So if the Vikings offered him an 8 mil bonus and gave him 5 mil the first year he would still get the 13 mil in year 1.  But in year 2 he has to be willing to accept 8 or 9 mil.  The Vikings could then bump up year 3 and 4 to ridiculous levels that are not likely to be earned.  Preferably AP would realize that he is going to need to accept less in years 3 & 4 and negotiate a reasonable deal that would keep him in purple.

I would only remove Langford from the draft in the alternate scenario.  I would replace him with Shane Carden QB East Carolina and I would sign the same free agents.  The cap would decrease by 7 mil which would be AP's new cap hit.

Well there you have it.

Merry Christmas to all!