The other day, we took a look at the Minnesota Vikings’ salary cap and the fact that there really aren’t a lot of bad or wasteful contracts on the payroll. Even the team’s “worst” contract, by comparison to some other teams, really isn’t all that bad.
Jason Fitzgerald, who many of you recognize from the indispensable Over the Cap salary tracking site, looked at each team and found what he deemed to be the worst contract on each roster. He then ordered them from 1 to 32, with #1 being the overall worst deal in the NFL and #32 being. . .I don’t know. . .the “least-worst” deal in the NFL, if that makes sense.
For the Vikings, the worst contract apparently belongs to tight end Kyle Rudolph, and his deal comes in at #30 out of 32. Here is Fitzgerald’s explanation for his selection:
On a team with few bad contracts, this one gets the nod. When Rudolph signed this deal back in 2014, it made him one of the highest-paid tight ends in the NFL. Rudolph plays well but is not a top-line player. The Vikings should have gotten a better deal.
Rudolph is in the fourth season of a five-year, $36.5 million contract extension, and has a cap hit for this season of $7.675 million. That’s the ninth-highest cap hit the Vikings have for 2018, and that figure will remain basically the same in 2019. He also has the sixth-largest cap hit in the NFL among tight ends. That might seem high, but Rudolph might be the Vikings’ most effective red zone target, and he’s been a pretty reliable part of the offense since he signed that extension. Honestly, when you look at some of the other contracts on the list, it could be a lot worse.
Speaking of which, there are quite a few former Vikings on Fitzgerald’s list. Tight end Rhett Ellison in the New York Giants’ worst contract, coming in at #24. Carolina Panthers’ offensive tackle Matt Kalil checks in at #21 (which seems about, I don’t know, 17 or 18 spots too low). Last, and perhaps most surprisingly, former Vikings’ running back Jerick McKinnon is all the way up at #3 with his deal he signed with the San Francisco 49ers just a few months ago.
This is arguably the worst contract signed in 2018. The 49ers need McKinnon to thrive in their offense, because there is no other way to justify a top running back contract for a player who has never produced 600 rushing yards or 500 receiving yards. This deal is a minefield of potential mistakes, from valuation to structure. He’ll have 16 games to prove the 49ers right.
The NFL’s worst contract, and possibly the worst contract in the history of the sport, belongs to Baltimore Ravens’ quarterback Joe Flacco, who rode a four-game hot streak in the 2012 playoffs to a Scrooge McDuck-esque pile of money.
In comparison to some of the NFL’s other bad contracts, though, the Vikings still have it pretty good.
(Hat tip to The Viking Age for finding the story that was used as the basis for this post.)