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Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas Mock

‘Tis the season!

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 07 Vanderbilt at Purdue Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It is that time of year again where we all can be merry (or Mary). The Vikings are in the 7th position with a .500 record and if the playoffs started today, they would face the Cowboys. It is good to still be in the dance but I am not confident Zimmer will have his team show up and compete.

Trying to speculate about the draft next year requires a little quick review of the salary cap next year. Right now the Vikings have about -7.338 mil in cap space (according to overthecap) based on next year’s projected cap space of 208.2M.

https://overthecap.com/calculator/minnesota-vikings/

https://www.nfl.com/news/nfl-informs-clubs-2022-salary-cap-projected-to-be-208-2-million

How can the Vikings create cap space? The two top cap hits are the QB at 45M and Hunter at 26.12M. Neither of these deals should stay as is. Here is what I would do ...

Add two void years to the QB’s contract and convert 18M to a bonus which frees up 12M in cap space.

Updated cap space - 4.662M

I like this option the best because it frees up cap space and puts pressure on the QB to perform even better which translates to team success. It does not have to be the QB’s fault but if they do not have playoff success then the strategy will have proven itself to be a failure.


Convert 10M of Danielle Hunter’s 18M roster bonus to a signing bonus and spread over 4 years which frees up 7.5M in cap space.

Updated cap space - 11.662M

Hunter getting hurt combined with the restructuring this past season gives the team time to see if he can stay healthy and produce at a high level while spreading his cap hit out a bit. A win-win for now.


Add one void year to Eric Kendricks’ contract and convert 7.5M to a bonus which frees up 5M in cap space.

Updated cap space - 16.662M


Add two void years to Adam Thielen’s contract and convert 10M to a bonus which frees up 8M in cap space.

Updated cap space - 24.662M


Convert all of Harrison Smith’s 8M roster bonus to a signing bonus and spread over 4 years which frees up 6M in cap space.

Updated cap space - 30.662M


Another move that would save 6.5M in cap space could be considered and that would be to release or trade Pierce. We’ll leave that out for now but, unfortunately, availability is a serious concern.

With 30M in cap space, what free agents should the team try to re-sign?

Give Patrick Peterson a 2 year 18M deal with two additional void years and a 8M signing bonus which costs 4M in cap space. Larger games played incentives should be included.

Janoris Jenkins signed a 2 year 15M deal last March at age 32.

Updated cap space - 26.662M


Give Xavier Woods a 3 year 22.5M deal with one additional void year and a 8M signing bonus which costs 3.5M in cap space.

Rayshawn Jenkins signed a 4 year 35M deal last year and Jalen Mills signed a 4 year 24M deal last year.

Updated cap space - 23.162M


Give Tyler Conklin a 3 year 18M deal with one additional void year and a 8M signing bonus which costs 3.5M in cap space.

Blake Jarwin signed a 4 year 22M deal in 2020 at age 25 and Nick Boyle signed a 2 year 13M deal in 2021 at age 27.

Updated cap space - 19.662M


Give Mason Cole a 2 year 5 deal with a 1M signing bonus which costs 2M in cap space.

Updated cap space - 17.662M


I could see Nick Vigil being brought back as well as the two dudes that put their foot on the ball but I doubt any of these players get much more than the minimum. Greg Joseph is an EFRA so he will be right around the minimum.

One outside free agent I will wish for here would be ...

Charvarius Ward CB from the Chiefs

He gets a 3 year 27M deal with one additional void year and a 8M signing bonus which costs 4M in cap space.

Ronald Darby signed a 3 year 30M deal last year and Michael Davis signed a 3 year 25.2M deal last year.

Updated cap space - 13.662M


With the remaining cap space and the possibility of moving on from Pierce, the Vikings will be in good shape to sign the rookies and possibly make other moves.

Heading to the draft the roster would be ...

QB - Cousins, Mond

RB - Cook, Mattison, Nwagwu

FB - Ham

WR - Jefferson, Thielen, Osborn, Johnson, Smith-Marsete, Chisena, Proehl

TE - Smith, Conklin, Ellefson, Peterson

OT - O’Neill, Darrisaw, Brandel

OG - Cleveland, Udoh, Davis

OC - Bradbury, Cole

DE - Hunter, Wonnum, Jones, Robinson, Willekes

DT - Tomlinson, Pierce?, Watts, Lynch, Twyman, Scott

ILB - Kendricks, Surratt, Connelly

OLB - Dye, Lynch, Vigil?

CB - Peterson*, Dantzler, Ward*, Boyd, Hand

SS - Smith, Metellus

FS - Woods*, Bynum

P - who cares?

K - Joseph

LS - DePaola

Onto the mock ...

It looks like linebacker would be hurting in this scenario but with the cap space remaining, they could find a bargain after a few weeks or more into free agency. I cannot speculate on who may still be out there looking for a deal (Barr?) once we get into April.

Fanspeak has the Vikings drafting at #19 using the official draft order.

TRADES

Miami Dolphins

Sent: Round 1 Pick 19

Received: Round 1 Pick 22, Round 4 Pick 11

Denver Broncos

Sent: Round 2 Pick 19

Received: Round 2 Pick 26, Round 4 Pick 12

LA Chargers

Sent: Round 3 Pick 19

Received: Round 3 Pick 24, Round 6 Pick 23

Cincinnati Bengals

Sent: Round 4 Pick 12

Received: Round 4 Pick 20, Round 7 Pick 6

22: R1 P22 EDGE George Karlaftis - Purdue 6’5” 270

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 25 Illinois at Purdue Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

#7 on Bruce Feldman’s 2021 College Football Freaks list. He power cleans 380, did a 505-pound front squat, a 10-1 broad jump, and a 37-inch vertical jump. His 40 this offseason was 4.69.


58: R2 P26 LB Christian Harris - Alabama 6’2” 232

LSU v Alabama Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

He was high on lists to start the season but has fallen a bit. Also, he has not declared yet.


88: R3 P24 CB Tariq Woolen - UTSA 6’4” 205

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 29 UTEP at UTSA Photo by Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

#6 on Bruce Feldman’s 2021 College Football Freaks list. He’s 6-4 1/4, 204 pounds but also has broad jumped 11-5 and run a laser-timed 4.34 40. He topped out at 23.33 MPH on the GPS and his flying 10-yard time is .90 seconds.


113: R4 P11 G Jamaree Salyer - Georgia 6’4” 325

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 30 Georgia v Florida Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Salyer is a dependable, versatile, solid offensive lineman. He played right tackle in 2019 as well as some center. He played left tackle the first nine games of 2020 before moving to left guard for the bowl game. He started 9 of 13 games at left tackle in 2021 and saw extensive action at right guard. He can do it all and play anywhere you want. “I have no preference,” Salyer said when asked if he’d like to play guard or tackle in 2021. “I like to think of myself as a Swiss Army Knife. I can do anything, whatever the team needs to win.

https://247sports.com/college/georgia/Article/Georgia-Football-Jamaree-Salyer-whatever-the-team-needs-2021—162535610/


122: R4 P20 LB Leo Chenal - Wisconsin 6’2” 260

Northwestern v Wisconsin Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

#22 on Bruce Feldman’s 2021 College Football Freaks list. Chenal does 420 and cleans 385. The big man clocked a 4.00 time in the pro agility and has hit a top speed of 20.95 MPH on the GPS. He’s also broad jumped 10-1. He is HUGE!

160: R5 P18 S Kerby Joseph - Illinois 6’1” 200

He had a monster senior year, being the top-graded defensive back in the nation, per Pro Football Focus. He also tied for first in the country with five interceptions. But Joseph isn’t just a defensive back — he’s a safety.

https://www.thechampaignroom.com/2021/12/12/22831360/illinois-fighting-illini-football-kerby-joseph-bret-bielema-2022-nfl-draft


183: R6 P4 TE Isaiah Likely - Coastal Carolina 6’3” 245

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 17 Cure Bowl - Northern Illinois v Coastal Carolina Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

197: R6 P18 WR Romeo Doubs - Nevada 6’2” 200

NCAA Football: Nevada at Colorado State Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

202: R6 P23 CB Joshua Williams - Fayetteville State 6’4” 325

https://thedraftnetwork.com/articles/joshua-williams-fayetteville-state-nfl-draft-2022


209: R6 P30 WR Calvin Austin III - Memphis 5’9” 162

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 25 UTSA at Memphis Photo by Chris McDill/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

https://thedraftnetwork.com/articles/calvin-austin-iii-2022-nfl-draft-memphis-tigers


225: R7 P6 DL Eyioma Uwazurike - Iowa State 6’6” 320

NCAA Football: Texas Christian at Iowa State Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

https://www.si.com/nfl/draft/scouting-reports/eyiomauwazurike


231: R7 P12 G ZeVeyon Furcron - Southern Illinois 6’2” 327

Southern Illinois v Memphis Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images

#25 on Bruce Feldman’s 2021 College Football Freaks list. The 6-2, 327-pound FCS All-American is a sixth-year senior and a five-year starter who is arguably the strongest man in college football. He has squatted 800 pounds and benched 500. He was a starting defensive tackle as a freshman, but moved to left guard in 2018 and has been a fixture there for SIU.


An alternate mock ...

TRADES

Dallas Cowboys

Sent: Round 3 Pick 19

Received: Round 3 Pick 29, Round 4 Pick 29

Miami Dolphins

Sent: Round 3 Pick 29

Received: Round 3 Pick 34, Round 7 Pick 3

19: R1 P19 EDGE George Karlaftis - Purdue

51: R2 P19 QB Desmond Ridder - Cincinnati

98: R3 P34 LB Brandon Smith - Penn State

131: R4 P29 WR Khalil Shakir - Boise State

160: R5 P18 CB Tariq Woolen - UTSA

183: R6 P4 CB Kyler Gordon - Washington

197: R6 P18 OT Abraham Lucas - Washington State

209: R6 P30 S Bubba Bolden - Miami

222: R7 P3 WR Romeo Doubs - Nevada

231: R7 P12 G Ze’veyon Furcron - Southern Illinois

Merry Christmas Ya Filthy Animals!