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Vikings Off Season Plan v3.0

As we get closer to the combine which starts March 3rd there is a lot of speculation and debate on various fan sites about which players the Vikings might release, ask to restructure their contract, possibly try to trade, and sign as free agents.

Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

The obvious areas that need the most attention is upgrading the offensive line and doing something about Adrian Peterson's contract.

First I want to mention the current cap space which spotrac has at 23.153 mil for the top 51 (overthecap has the same for the top 51).

In this plan I am going to look by position group and make suggestions.  Some players may not be listed but they are probably on the fringe of making the final 53 man roster.

At the QB position the Vikings cap hits for 2017 are $20,797,121.

Sam Bradford QB $18,000,000
Teddy Bridgewater QB $2,179,387
Taylor Heinicke QB $618,334

At the RB position the Vikings cap hits for 2017 are $19,443,750.

Adrian Peterson RB $18,000,000
Jerick McKinnon RB $828,750
Bishop Sankey RB $615,000

At the WR position the Vikings cap hits for 2017 are $7,094,887.

Jarius Wright WR $3,160,000
Laquon Treadwell WR $2,257,949
Stefon Diggs WR $671,928
Isaac Fruechte WR $540,000
Moritz Boehringer WR $465,000

At the TE position the Vikings cap hits for 2017 are $7,838,864.

Kyle Rudolph TE $6,800,000
David Morgan TE $573,864
Kyle Carter TE $465,000

At the OL position the Vikings cap hits for 2017 are $11,411,238.

Alex Boone OL $6,700,000
Joe Berger OL $1,880,000
TJ Clemmings OL $746,238
Nick Easton OL $615,000
Austin Shepherd OL $540,000
Reid Fragel OL $465,000
Marquis Lucas OL $465,000

At the DL position the Vikings cap hits for 2017 are $34,659,173.

Everson Griffen DE $8,200,000
Brian Robison DE $6,600,000
Scott Crichton DE $933,081
Danielle Hunter DE $792,806
Stephen Weatherly DE $540,000
Sterling Bailey DE $465,000
BJ Dubose DE $465,000
Linval Joseph DT $6,850,000
Sharrif Floyd DT $6,757,000
Tom Johnson DT $2,350,000
Shamar Stephen DT $706,287

At the LB position the Vikings cap hits for 2017 are $9,441,188.

Anthony Barr LB $4,054,780
Emmanuel Lamur LB $2,750,000
Eric Kendricks LB $1,406,160
Edmond Robinson LB $632,078
Kentrell Brothers LB $598,170

At the CB position the Vikings cap hits for 2017 are $15,707,515.

Xavier Rhodes CB $8,026,000
Trae Waynes CB $3,530,281
Marcus Sherels CB $2,000,000
Mackensie Alexander CB $980,978
Jabari Price CB $705,455
Tre Roberson CB $465,000

At the S position the Vikings cap hits for 2017 are $12,855,003.

Harrison Smith S $7,500,000
Andrew Sendejo S $3,000,000
Antone Exum S $718,947
Anthony Harris S $615,000
Jayron Kearse S $556,056
Cedric Thompson S $465,000

At the specialists position group the Vikings cap hits for 2017 are $2,150,000.

Kevin McDermott LS $910,000
Kai Forbath K $775,000
Taylor Symmank P $465,000

Total - $142,329,499

Now what could/should happen within each position group.

There has been chatter about extending Bradford now with the assumption that it would be cheaper and that it may allow the Vikings to trade him easier next off season.  That would create a dead money issue if a trade is consummated.  But maybe it is worth it to protect their investment and it would be less than the franchise tag which could be 23 mil plus.

A 3 year 60 mil extension with a 6 mil signing bonus would increase his cap hit this year by 1.5 mil to 19.5.  The next 3 years would be 16, 18, & 20 mil.  A trade at the end of the 2017 season would cost 4.5 mil in dead money but save 13 mil in cap space.

I expect the Vikings to at least pick up the 5th year option on Teddy which is likely to be 11 mil plus.  It may not be a bad idea at all and does provide security. But I think it could depress the trade value of Teddy especially if Sam plays well.  The Vikings cannot let the 2018 league year begin because if they do, Teddy's deal is guaranteed.  Other teams will not offer as much knowing the Vikings do not want to carry two QBs for 28 mil plus in cap space.  IMHO.

Let's leave the QB cap situation as is for now.  They can extend Sam at anytime this season but likely should do it before opening day and maybe towards the end of the pre-season.

Obviously, AP is not getting that much.  If they cut him then you add in CJ Ham and you are only spending $1,908,750.  But the talent level at the position is going to be a lot lower.  Can the Vikings sign a free agent like Latavious Murray or Eddie Lacy?  Would they be a lot cheaper than AP?  Would they be any better?

It is another tough call. My feeling is that the Vikings likely will offer about 6 mil per year and AP will politely decline and test the market.  Once he hits the market then I think he is gone.

I would have to remove AP from the RB cap allotment.

I would say that Thielen should get the 2nd round tender for 2.8 mil and Wright will be released or traded for a 7th round pick. That will cause a 1.680 dead money cap hit. I think CP84 will test the market and find a more favorable deal elsewhere.

I think the Vikings could look to replace Carter in the draft which is supposedly deep at TE.  I do not think they should re-sign Ellison as it is going to take almost 2 mil based on his 1.85 mil cap hit last year.  I do like Levine Toilolo as a free agent though.

Jeremiah Sirles, Zac Kerin, Rashod Hill, and Willie Beavers are ERFAs except Sirles who is a RFA. I expect they will be tendered minimum deals which should total approximately 2.31 mil.

Obviously the bulk of the money in free agency should be spent on this position group.  We have debated who they should sign and we obviously all want to snag two top free agents.  I think the competition could be fierce so the closing ability of Spielman is going to be tested.  One other player who deserves a couple of mil more would be Joe Berger.  They should give him that if he is going to play and likely start.

Toby Johnson is a RFA and probably will get the minimum offer of 615K.

I think they may extend/restructure Robison on a 3 year deal for 12.5 mil.  I think they hang onto Floyd even though they have no assurances for 2018 which means he is able to leave unless the team places the franchise tag on him.  It would be nice if they could work out a 3 year 15 mil deal or something like that but I think he and his agent will want to bet on himself.

I think that Audie Cole could get offered another one year deal which would be 775K if it were the minimum but he should get more (1.25 mil at least) but not in this plan yet.  Other than that I would look at a free agent or a late round draft pick.  I really like Zach Brown as a free agent but he is going to cost between 5 and 6 mil IMO.

I think the first thing to do is extend Rhodes with a 5 year 70 mil deal with a 10 mil signing bonus spread out over 5 years including 2017 but not in 2022.  Here is a sample based off how they did Harrison Smith ...

Year   |  Base   |  Signing   |  Roster   |  Workout   |  Cap Hit
2017   |  $8,026,000    |  $2,000,000    |     |     |  $10,026,000
2018   |  $10,000,000    |  $2,000,000    |  $250,000    |  $100,000    |  $12,350,000
2019   |  $11,000,000    |  $2,000,000    |  $250,000    |  $100,000    |  $13,350,000
2020   |  $12,000,000    |  $2,000,000    |  $300,000    |  $100,000    |  $14,400,000
2021   |  $12,000,000    |  $2,000,000    |  $300,000    |  $100,000    |  $14,400,000
2022   |  $13,000,000    |     |  $400,000    |  $100,000    |  $13,500,000
TOTAL   |  $58,000,000    |  $10,000,000    |  $1,500,000    |  $500,000    |  $70,000,000

So, Rhodes cap hit for this year only goes up 2 mil.  They may not be able to afford Munnerlyn or any other CB at 5 or 6 mil per year.  The corner-back group in this year's draft is supposedly deep too.  I do like Darryl Morris or Sterling Moore as free agents though.

I think that they probably will just draft a safety because this is also a deep group in the draft.  Personally, I would sign a free agent.  There will be some nice free agents possibly.  Like Barry Church, TJ Jefferson, Johnathan Cyprien, DJ Swearinger, Duron Harmon, Tj McDonald, and obviously Eric Berry.

I got nothing.  They can find dudes that can put their foot on the ball and should not pay too much.

New Cap Hits
QB - $22,297,121 (includes Bradford's extension after the draft)
RB - $1,908,750
WR - $7,874,878  (includes dead money cap hit for Wright)
TE - $7,838,864
OL - $14,128,739 (includes Berger 2 mil increase and only top 8)
DL - $32,334,174 (includes Robison redo and does not include Bailey)
LB - $19,441,188
CB - $17,707,714 (including Rhodes new deal)
S  - $12,390,003
SP - $2,150,000

Total - $126,392,031

This leaves about $41,607,969 in cap space based off a 168 mil cap. 

Before I get to free agency and the draft I think it is important to look at upcoming contracts. 

In 2018, the Vikings will have Bridgewater and Barr on 5th year options.  They also have to decide on Sharrif Floyd, Tom Johnson, Shamar Stephen, Marcus Sherels, Emmanuel Lamur, Jabari Price, Antone Exum, Scott Crichton, and Joe Berger. 

I expect Berger may retire.  Johnson may not get extended due to his age.  I think the rest will be smaller deals that are not too much to worry over.  Floyd is going to be the tough and possibly pricey decision.

The cap hits for the top 18 players before signing any free agents and extending any players are ...

Sam Bradford QB $17,500,000
Anthony Barr LB $12,600,000
Xavier Rhodes CB $12,350,000
Teddy Bridgewater QB $12,000,000
Harrison Smith S $10,000,000
Everson Griffen DE $9,700,000
Kyle Rudolph TE $7,300,000
Linval Joseph DT $6,850,000
Alex Boone OL $6,700,000
Adam Thielen WR $6,000,000
Brian Robison DE $4,200,000
Trae Waynes CB $4,118,661
Andrew Sendejo S $3,500,000
Laquon Treadwell WR $2,709,540
Eric Kendricks LB $1,640,520
Mackensie Alexander CB $1,177,174
Danielle Hunter DE $892,306
Stefon Diggs WR $761,928
Total  $120,000,129

This assumes the Vikings extend Rhodes, restructure/extend Robison, give Thielen 6 mil per year (could be more), and keep Sam on the new deal plus Teddy on the 5th year option amount.

Maybe the cap goes up to 180 mil in 2018?  If it does that leaves 60 mil to sign 33 players.  You figure 20 of them will make less than a mil or two so you could be left with about 30 to 40 mil in cap space.

In 2019, the Vikings will have Trae Waynes on a 5th year option most likely.  They also have to extend on Eric Kendricks, Danielle Hunter, and Stephon Diggs.  Plus they have to decide on Griffen and Joseph.  It will be tighter because the free agents I want them to sign this year have not even been included yet.

I think the numbers indicate that the team will be a very top heavy salaried team going forward.  I imagine there may be some players that the Vikings will not be able to extend in the future.  They will need to learn from the Patriots and trade players BEFORE seeing them walk away in free agency for nothing but MAYBE a compensatory pick.

So, if you are still with me at this point you get a bonus!  I will send you a fruit cake in the mail!

As much as I want to see the Vikings sign a bunch of players in free agency, I just do not see it happening.  I do think they will try to add offensive linemen.  Once again I am using the fanspeak On The Clock GM site ...

Salary Cap: 166,000,000
Player Salaries: 139,444,531
Dead Money: 4,347,810
Carryover: 400,184
Reserved for Draft Picks: 5,000,000
Cap Space Remaining: 17,607,843

Name Position
Adrian Peterson RB
Brian Robison EDGE
Charles Johnson WR
Jarius Wright WR

Cap Space Remaining: 44,487,843

JC Tretter (C) accepted your 5 year offer for $6,500,000 per year
Andrew Whitworth (OT) accepted your 3 year offer for $9,500,000 per year
Rex Burkhead (RB) accepted your 2 year offer for $2,500,000 per year
Corbin Bryant (DL) accepted your 2 year offer for $2,750,000 per year
Brian Robison (DE) accepted your 3 year offer for $4,150,000 per year
Terence Newman (CB) accepted your 2 year offer for $3,000,000 per year

Cap Space Remaining: 23,750,343




32: R1P32 Ryan Ramczyk OT Wisconsin rJr 6-5 314

59: R2P27 Forrest Lamp OG Western Kentucky rSr 6-3 300

79: R3P15 JuJu Smith-Schuster WR Southern California Jr 6-2 220

86: R3P22 Samaje Perine RB Oklahoma Jr 5-10 235

104: R3P40 DeMarcus Walker DE Florida State Sr 6-2 273

119: R4P14 Alex Anzalone OLB Florida rJr 6-2 241

161: R5P16 Damontae Kazee CB San Diego State rSr 5-10 190

209: R6P24 Chad Kelly QB Ole Miss Sr 6-2 224

235: R7P14 Tanzel Smart DT Tulane Sr 6-0 304

247: R7P26 James Conner RB Pittsburgh rJr 6-2 240

Keevan Lucas WR Tulsa Sr 5-9 195
Isaac Rochell DE Notre Dame Sr 6-3 290
Dylan Cole OLB Missouri State rSr 6-0 240
Jimmie Gilbert OLB Colorado Sr 6-4 230
Hayden Plinke TE Texas-El Paso rSr 6-4 255
Jerry Ugokwe OT William & Mary rSr 6-7 305
Chase Roullier OG Wyoming rSr 6-4 319
Chuck Clark FS Virginia Tech Sr 6-0 204
Chunky Clements DT Illinois Sr 6-3 295
William Likely III CB Maryland Sr 5-7 175
Brad Seaton OT Villanova Sr 6-9 311
Peter Bateman OT Minnesota-Duluth Sr 6-5 285
Pita Taumoepenu OLB Utah Sr 6-1 245
Kai Nacua FS Brigham Young Sr 6-1 208
Tarik Cohen RB North Carolina A&T Sr 5-6 180

QB - Sam Bradford, Teddy Bridgewater, Taylor Heinicke, Chad Kelly*
RB - Jerrick McKinnon, Rex Burkhead, CJ Ham (PS), Bishop Sankey (PS), Samaje Perine*
FB - James Conner*
TE - Kyle Rudolph, David Morgan II, Kyle Carter (PS)
WR - Stephon Diggs, JuJu Smith-Schuster*, Moritz Boehringer (PS)
WR - Adam Thielen, Laquon Treadwell, Cayleb Jones (PS)
LT - Andrew Whitworth, Rashod Hill, Marquis Lucas (PS)
LG - Alex Boone, Forrest Lamp*, Zac Kerin, Reid Fragel (PS)
OC - JC Tretter, Nick Easton
RG - Joe Berger, Jeremiah Sirles, Willie Beavers
RT - Ryan Ramczyk, TJ Clemmings, Austin Shepherd (PS)

DE - Everson Griffen, Stephen Weatherly, Sterling Bailey (PS)
DT - Sharrif Floyd, Shamar Stephen, Toby Johnson (PS), Corbin Bryant
DT - Linval Joseph, Tom Johnson, BJ Dubose (PS), Tanzel Smart*
DE - Danielle Hunter, Brian Robison, Scott Crichton, DeMarcus Walker*
SLB - Anthony Barr, Edmond Robinson
MLB - Eric Kendricks, Alex Anzalone*
SLB - Kentrell Brothers, Emmanuel Lamur
LCB - Trae Waynes, Terrence Newman, Marcus Sherels
RCB - Xavier Rhodes, Tre Roberson (PS), Jabari Price
SCB - Mackenzie Alexander, Damontae Kazee*
SS - Harrison Smith, Jermaine Kearse, Anthony Harris
FS - Andrew Sendejo, Antone Exum, Cedric Thompson (PS)

P - Taylor Symmank
K - Marshall Koehn
LS - Kevin McDermott

I like getting Whitworth and Tretter in free agency.  Tretter is able to play left tackle and probably a guard spot.  Burkhead is a 3rd down type back that provides insurance if McKinnon goes elsewhere after the 2017 season. Corbin Bryant is a depth type player that could take the place of Johnson who turns 32 in August and is recovering from a torn hamstring.

In the draft, using the Mike Miller big board, Ramczyk had fallen all the way to the last pick in the 1st round so making a Joe Staley trade with the Patriots seemed like a good deal to me.  I probably could have traded the 2nd and 3rd to move up to the bottom of the 1st as well.  But I wanted the picks this year.  Trading down with the Chiefs and still selecting Forrest Lamp is a pipe dream most likely.  I could swap that with Pat Elflein or Ethan Pocic.

After the free agent signings and the contract restructures/extension the top 23 salaries would add up to 144 mil.

Sam Bradford  $17,500,000
Xavier Rhodes  $12,350,000
Anthony Barr  $12,000,000
Teddy Bridgewater  $11,300,000
Andrew Whitworth  $10,500,000
Harrison Smith  $10,000,000
Everson Griffen  $9,700,000
Kyle Rudolph  $7,300,000
JC Tretter  $7,125,000
Linval Joseph  $6,850,000
Alex Boone  $6,700,000
Adam Thielen  $6,000,000
Brian Robison  $4,200,000
Trae Waynes  $4,118,661
Andrew Sendejo  $3,500,000
Terrence Newman  $3,000,000
Corbin Bryant  $2,750,000
Laquon Treadwell  $2,709,540
Rex Burkhead  $2,500,000
Eric Kendricks  $1,640,520
Mackensie Alexander  $1,177,174
Danielle Hunter  $892,306
Stefon Diggs  $761,928
Total  $144,575,129

The cap in 2018 could be as high as 184 mil.  But that does not leave much.  Obviously, they cannot carry two QBs.  But the above salaries do not include Floyd or any other pending free agents.

It is going to be tough to sign a lot of players this year.  Maybe just one or two? The rest will probably minor deals.

Here is an alternate draft ...



59: R2P27 Adoree' Jackson CB Southern California Jr 5-11 185
79: R3P15 Joe Mixon RB Oklahoma rSo 6-1 226
93: R3P29 Ethan Pocic C LSU Sr 6-6 309
104: R3P40 Tanoh Kpassagnon DE Villanova Sr 6-6 285
119: R4P14 Pat Elflein C Ohio State rSr 6-2 300
127: R4P22 Brad Kaaya QB Miami (Fla.) Jr 6-4 210
161: R5P16 Carlos Henderson WR Louisiana Tech rJr 5-11 191
173: R5P28 Eddie Vanderdoes DT UCLA rJr 6-2 305
200: R6P15 Eric Saubert TE Drake rSr 6-4 242
235: R7P14 Freddie Stevenson FB Florida State Sr 6-0 243

Not sure which draft I like better or if I like any to be honest.

But this is what I have for now.