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Vikings among NFL’s best at limiting “dead money”

Not a lot of waste on the Vikings’ salary cap

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Our friends over at Pats Pulpit did a post on this earlier today on how this relates to the New England Patriots, so I thought it would be an interesting thing to look at for the Minnesota Vikings, particularly given that salary cap space has been a topic of discussion around here recently.

We know that Rob Brzezinski has been a wizard with the salary cap over the past few years. Not only have the Vikings managed to keep just about everyone that they’ve wanted to, but they’ve also been able to go out and add pieces to their team, allowing them to construct one of the NFL’s strongest rosters.

Almost as impressive, but something that doesn’t get as much ink, is that there’s very little waste to be seen on the Vikings’ salary cap, as evidenced by how little “dead money” the Vikings have weighing them down.

According to the folks from Over the Cap, the Vikings have just $2,988,150 of “dead money” on their salary cap, which is the fifth-lowest total in the NFL. When you look at the list from OTC and see that there are some teams that are giving tens of millions of dollars to players that no longer play for them, it’s pretty impressive to see the Vikings with a total so low.

Of the nearly $3 million that the Vikings are giving players that are no longer on the roster, almost all of it can be traced to one player. Former wide receiver Jarius Wright, who signed with the Carolina Panthers after being released by Minnesota, accounts for $2,120,000 of the $2,988,150 of their dead money. When he was released, the remainder of the guaranteed money on his contract was accelerated (as he had two years left on the four-year extension he had signed in 2015), which is why the Vikings have that on their cap for this season.

There are only four other players that the Vikings are paying not to play for them, and they’re really not getting a whole lot.

  • Scott Crichton - $210,000
  • Rodney Adams - $184,887
  • T.J. Clemmings - $131,239
  • Bucky Hodges - $109,248

The Vikings have given out a lot of big contracts over the past few years. Of those, there have been very few bad contracts, and the Vikings have generally left themselves an out in most of those cases. An example of that would be offensive lineman Alex Boone, who got a “big money” deal before the 2016 season and, after one underperforming year with the Vikings, was released with very little damage done to the Vikings’ salary situation.

Overall, however, the Vikings have done a very good job of managing their salary cap, and that’s a big part of the reason why they’re able to keep a young, talented, developing core largely intact.