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Vikings Look Ahead to the Offseason

But why? Debating the defense ineptitude is useless

San Francisco 49ers v Minnesota Vikings Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

As we head down the stretch with a comfortable 4 game lead in the division with 4 games to play, the odds are very high the Vikings wrap up the division title soon. The title could come this weekend with a win at home against the Colts or a Lions loss on the road to the Jets.

The defense has been struggling mightily.

They are last in total yards allowed per game at 403.7
They are last in passing yards allowed per game at 287.2
They are 16th in rushing yards allowed per game at 116.5
They are 17th in sacks with 30
They are 15th in 3rd down percentage at 39.0
They are 24th in points allowed per game at 24.1

The offense is doing fairly well but could be better IMHO.

They are 10th in total yards per game at 342
They are 8th in passing yards per game at 246.4
They are 27th in rushing yards per game at 95.6
They are 20th in sacks allowed with 34
They are 13th in 3rd down percentage at 40.6
They are 10th in points per game at 24


This is troubling to most Vikings fans and the confidence is waning just a bit which is understandable. I think the defense can turn it around some and we really only need them to play their best in the playoffs.

NFL: International Series-Minnesota Vikings Practice Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

As we take a look at the upcoming offseason, we first notice that the team is 8.7M over the cap according to spotrac and 4.9M according to overthecap. There will be some cuts, restructures, and extensions done to get under the cap and maybe sign a free agent or two.

This is an overview with some possibilities and not really the first plan. Using the overthecap calculator found here let’s try one where they create the max cap space possible with lots of cuts and some probable extensions.

Starting Cap Space: ($4,916,042)

Player: Cap Space Saved : Dead Money Incurred
Eric Kendricks: 9.5M : 1.93M
Dalvin Cook: 7.899M : 6.202
CJ Ham: 3.05M : 750K
Chris Reed: 2.5M : 250K
Harrison Smith: 7.468M : 11.747M
Adam Thielen: 6.417M : 13.55M
Jordan Hicks: 5M : 1.5M
Za’Darius Smith 12.33M : 3.333M
Remaining Cap Space: $49,251,898


Danielle Hunter gets a 4 year 88M deal with a 25M signing bonus (includes one void year): costs 5M
Dalvin Tomlinson gets a 3 year 48M deal with a 17.5M signing bonus (includes two void years): costs 2.5M
Justin Jefferson gets a 4 year 130M deal with a 35M signing bonus plus 10M roster bonuses in 2024 & 2025: costs 7M
Garrett Bradbury gets a 3 year 24M deal with a 8M signing bonus (includes one void year): costs 3.5M
TJ Hockenson gets a 4 year 58M deal with a 15M signing bonus and a 4M option bonus in 2024 (includes one void year): saves 3.829M
Remaining Cap Space: $35,080,898


The remaining free agents are Irv Smith Jr, Chandon Sullivan, Jonathan Bullard, Nick Mullens, Oli Udoh, Alexander Mattison, Olabisi Johnson, Duke Shelley, Austin Scholttmann, Kris Boyd, Greg Joseph, and Andre DePaola, Khyiris Tonga and Blake Brandel are ERFAs. Ben Ellefson and Kenny Willekes are RFAs. I really do not see them offering too much to any of these players plus I believe many of them will test the market.

I doubt they cut or trade the players listed as possibilities above. Not after this season.

Let’s look at another less drastic calculation.

Starting Cap Space: ($4,916,042)

Release CJ Ham. Saves 3.05M
Release Chris Reed. Saves 2.5M
Restructure 4M of Cook’s salary while adding a void year. Saves 4M
Restructure 3M of Thielen’s salary. Saves 2M
Restructure 4M of H. Smith’s salary while adding a void year. Saves 3M
Restructure 5M of O’Neill’s salary while adding a void year. Saves 4M
Restructure 6M of Z. Smith’s salary while adding a void year. Saves 4M
Remaining Cap Space: ($17,633,958)


Extend Danielle Hunter with a 4 year 88M deal with a 25M signing bonus
(includes one void year)
Salaries of 5.5M, 15M, 20.5M, & 22M
Cap hits of 18.12M, 25.62M, 31.12M, 27M, and 5M
Costs 4M
* deal similar to Bradley Chubb, Leonard Williams, and Maxx Crosby


Extend Justin Jefferson with a 4 year 130M deal with a 35M signing bonus
plus 10M roster bonuses in 2024 & 2025
Salaries of 2.4M, 10M, 12M, 25M, & 28M
Cap hits of 11.175M, 27M, 29M, 32M, and 35M
Costs 7M
* deal similar to Tyreek Hill but substantially more


Extend Dalvin Tomlinson with a 3 year 48M deal with a 17.5M signing bonus
(includes two void years)
Salaries of 2M, 15M, & 16M
Cap hits of 7.5M, 20.5M, 21.5, 3.M, and 3.M
Costs nothing as he already had a 7.5M cap hit
* deal similar to Grady Jarrett


Extend TJ Hockenson with a 4 year 58M deal with a 15M signing bonus and a 6M option bonus in 2024
(includes one void year)
Salaries of 1.5M, 8M, 11.5M, & 16M
Cap hits of 4.5M, 12.5M, 16M, 20.5M, and 4.5M
Saves 4.829M
* deal similar to Dallas Goedert, Mark Andrews, and David Njoku


Extend Garrett Bradbury with a 3 year 24M deal with a 8M signing bonus
(includes one void year)
Salaries of 1.5M, 6.5M, & 8M
Cap hits of 3.5M, 8.5M, 10M, and 2M
Costs 3.5M
* deal similar to Brian Allen, Ted Karras, and Connor Williams


Extend Patrick Peterson with a 2 year 12M deal with a 4.5M signing bonus
(includes one void year)
Salaries of 1.5M, 6M
Cap hits of 3.75M, 7.5M, and 1.5M
Costs 3M
* deal similar to Casey Hayward


Extend Eric Kendricks with a 2 year 20M deal with a 6M signing bonus and a 3M roster bonus in 2024
(includes three void years)
Salaries of 1.42M, 9.23M
Cap hits of 4.9M, 13.43.5M, 1.2M, 1.2M, and 1.2M
Saves 6.53M
* deal similar to Lavonte David and Bobby Wagner


Remaining Cap Space: ($11,492,958)

If they went with the plan above then they’d have that 11.492M left to use with not any other restructures to do besides with the QB. Since they added two void years to Cousins deal they could take any amount of the 20M roster bonus and spread it over three years. If they move on from him in 2024, then they will incur a 12.5M dead money cap hit. Restructuring any now increases that amount. Also, if they want to extend him beyond 2024 it would likely involve more void years and more kicking of the can.

I’ll leave that out for now. I am not sure if there is any young safety they could sign as a free agent to replace Smith and they likely want to see if Cine can return to form. I am not sure if there is a young LB they could sign to replace Kendricks or Hicks since they have Asamoah and the young free agents usually are coveted and cost a pretty penny.

After the success of this season (thus far), I think the prudent thing to do is run it back. Get your top two draft picks healthy and ready to contribute next year. Draft decent in 2023 and run it back. Another year in the systems should make them even better.

So, assuming they go with this scenario, I think they could sign a slot CB for cheap and a dude that puts his foot on the ball for cheap as well.

How would/should they draft in this case? Glad you asked.


Trade Partner: Cleveland Browns
Sent: Round 1 Pick 29, Round 5 Pick 30
Received: Round 2 Pick 12, Round 3 Pick 36, Round 4 Pick 30


Trade Partner: San Francisco 49ers
Sent: Round 3 Pick 30
Received: Round 3 Pick 39, Round 5 Pick 25


Trade Partner: Green Bay Packers
Sent: Round 5 Pick 25
Received: Round 5 Pick 34, Round 7 Pick 15


43: R2 P12 CB Clark Phillips III - Utah 5-10 183

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 02 Pac-12 Championship - Utah vs USC Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

99: R3 P36 EDGE Byron Young - Tennessee 6-3 245

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 08 Tennessee at LSU Photo by John Korduner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

102: R3 P39 G Cooper Beebe - Kansas State 6-4 322

Oklahoma State v Kansas State Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

117: R4 P15 LB Daiyan Henley - Washington State 6-2 232

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 08 Washington State at USC Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

132: R4 P30 EDGE Keion White - Georgia Tech 6-5 286

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 01 Georgia Tech at Pitt Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

169: R5 P34 C Alex Forsyth - Oregon 6-4 312

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 03 Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game - Oregon vs Georgia Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

212: R6 P37 TE Josh Whyle - Cincinnati 6-6 250

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 10 Kennesaw State at Cincinnati Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

214: R6 P39 S Kaevon Merriweather - Iowa 6-0 212

Syndication: HawkCentral Joseph Cress / USA TODAY NETWORK

230: R7 P15 WR Andrei Iosivas - Princeton 6-3 200

Princeton v Brown Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

It will be interesting to read other ideas about what they should do salary cap wise. It will help inform the different offseason plans I am going to do. I think running it back one more year is the most likely outcome. There may be a release or two that surprises but they’ll have to have a free agent in mind to replace whomever they release.

Clark Phillips II has played 214 snaps in the slot, 374 out wide, and 38 in the box. He is a good tackler and has the build you want in a slot corner.

I think they need to continue to build the trenches.

Let me know your ideas if you don’t mind.