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Vikings Offseason Plan 4.0

NC State v Miami Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Version 4 is here and each one will be different in some ways.

Congratulations to the Los Angeles Rams!

It is hard to tell right now what the team is going to do so this is not a guess.

It is what I would do.

The three previous plans are below.

https://www.dailynorseman.com/2022/1/19/22892184/vikings-2022-offseason-plan-v1-0

(trade Cousins/extend Hunter 5 yr 110/restructure Cook/sign Reed, Vander Esch, Mariota, Njoku, Hooker, Berry)

https://www.dailynorseman.com/2022/2/1/22911524/vikings-2022-offseason-plan-2-0

(extend Cousins 2 yr 62M/trade Hunter/trade Cook/trade Thielen/sign Njoku, Ward, King, Hooker, Berry)

https://www.dailynorseman.com/2022/2/7/22922586/vikings-2022-offseason-plan-3-0

(restructure Hunter, Smith, Thielen, Cook, Pierce, O’Neill/extend Kendricks/sign Peterson, Berry)

The Vikings are currently 15.335M over the cap.

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

Season : Total Liabilities : Team Salary Cap : Cap Space
2022 : $224,013,598 : $208,917,819 : ($15,335,779)
2023 : $143,694,074 : $225,000,000 : $81,305,926
2024 : $89,412,731 : $256,000,000 : $166,587,269

Extend Cousins with a 1 yr 31M deal with one void year

He gets a 42M signing bonus
Salaries of 2M, 18M
Cap hits would be 26M, 32M, 14M (void year)
Season : Total Liabilities : Team Salary Cap : Cap Space
2022 : $205,253,598 : $208,917,819 : $3,664,221
2023 : $175,694,074 : $225,000,000 : $49,305,926
2024 : $103,412,731 : $256,000,000 : $152,587,269

Saves 19M in cap space

Note: This may not be enough but it is as far as I would want to go with Cousins. Two more years and then have to eat a little more dead money. No trade would be worthwhile. I suppose you could bump the signing bonus up 2 to 3M that would increase the cap hits and dead money in the void year. I wonder if Cousins and his agent would go for a one year extension with a void year included in order to help the team?


Extend Hunter with a 3 yr 63M deal

He gets a 22M signing bonus
Salaries of 1.5M, 18.5M, 21M
Cap hits would be 13.12M, 27.12M, 27.62M, 6.62M (he has a 2025 void year already)
Season : Total Liabilities : Team Salary Cap : Cap Space
2022 : $192,253,598 : $208,917,819 : $16,664,221
2023 : $194,194,074 : $225,000,000 : $30,805,926
2024 : $128,792,731 : $256,000,000 : $127,207,269

Saves 13M in cap space

Note: This deal pays Hunter an average of 21M per year for the next 3 years. It probably should include hefty incentive bonuses based on snaps played, sacks, awards, making the playoffs, making the Super Bowl, and winning the Super Bowl.


At this point the Vikings have 16.9M to use on free agents and they need 4.32M to sign their rookies according to overthecap and based on the current draft picks (slots).

https://overthecap.com/draft/

I think that because the cap was so low in 2020, the team will need to restructure some of the larger deals which is not usually something that they like to do. It is necessary IF you want to be more aggressive in free agency. They do not need to restructure much though.

I think that Smith and Thielen will be gone in 2023 and I do not believe any alteration (er, pay cut) of their contract would be wise or prove worthwhile.

I think Cook could be approached about a restructure (er, pay cut) in 2023 or get moved (traded or cut).

Pierce could be approached about a restructure or extension in 2023 or he will likely be a cap casualty too.

That would leave Cousins, Hunter, and O’Neill with cap hits over 19M in 2023. Kendricks would be in the last year of his deal with a 11.4M cap hit.

The cap would be less top heavy and allows for the large cap hits of Hunter.

The free agents in 2023 will be Bradbury, Watts, Smith Jr, Udoh, Mattison, Bisi Johnson, and Boyd. I do not think it is going to take a lot to extend any of these players if they do it at all.

Based on all of that I think restructures are not a bad idea but let’s see what can happen before we get there.

Free Agents

Extend Jordan Berry with a 2 year 3M deal

500K signing bonus
Salaries of 1.25M, 1.25M
Cap hits would be 1.5M, 1.5M
This deal is similar (between) to the ones signed by Michael Palardy at age 28 and Andy Lee at age 38 last year
Season : Total Liabilities : Team Salary Cap : Cap Space
2022 : $193,043,598 : $208,917,819 : $15,874,221
2023 : $195,694,074 : $225,000,000 : $29,305,926
2024 : $128,792,731 : $256,000,000 : $127,207,269
Costs 790K in cap space (not 1.5M because the player at roster spot #51 making 710K is bumped out)

Greg Joseph will get the minimum because he is an ERFA and this does not affect the cap enough to discus.

If he is not an ERFA then they probably have to offer 2M or so.

I am not sure about signing any of the other in house free agents just yet.

Time to look at outside free agents.


Sign OC Bradley Bozeman to a 5 year 60M

15M signing bonus
Salaries of 1.035M, 5.965M, 12M, 13M, 13M
Cap hits would be 4.035M, 8.965M, 15M, 16M, 16M
This deal is similar to the one Corey Linsley signed last year at age 29 and the one Ryan Kelly signed in 2020 at age 27.
Season : Total Liabilities : Team Salary Cap : Cap Space
2022 : $196,329,863 : $208,917,819 : $12,587,956
2023 : $204,659,074 : $225,000,000 : $20,340,926
2024 : $143,792,731 : $256,000,000 : $112,207,269
Costs $3,286,265 in cap space (not 4.035M because the player at roster spot #51 making $748,735 is bumped out)

Bozeman is 6’5 317 and 27 years old. It may be considered an overpay and risky but the team needs to strengthen the center position and Bozeman played his best year last year when they put him at center.


Sign LB Josey Jewell to a 3 year 18M deal

6M signing bonus
Salaries of 1.035M, 3.965M, 7M
Cap hits would be 3.035M, 5.965M, 9M
This deal is similar to the one AJ Klein signed in 2020
Jewell played for Ed Donatell too

https://milehighsports.com/the-broncos-must-retain-lb-josey-jewell-according-to-pff/

Season : Total Liabilities : Team Salary Cap : Cap Space
2022 : $198,539,863 : $208,917,819 : $10,377,956
2023 : $210,624,074 : $225,000,000 : $14,375,926
2024 : $152,792,731 : $256,000,000 : $103,207,269
Costs 2.21M in cap space (not 3.035M because the player at roster spot #51 making 825K is bumped out)

Sign CB Kevin King to a 3 year 18M deal

6M signing bonus
Salaries of 1.035M, 3.965M, 7M
Cap hits would be 3.035M, 5.965M, 9M
This deal is similar to the ones Jalen Mills and Mike Hilton signed last year.
Season : Total Liabilities : Team Salary Cap : Cap Space
2022 : $200,749,863 : $208,917,819 : $8,167,956
2023 : $216,589,074 : $225,000,000 : $8,410,926
2024 : $161,792,731 : $256,000,000 : $94,207,269
Costs 2.21M in cap space (not 3.035M because the player at roster spot #51 making 825K is bumped out)

Sign CB Bryce Callahan to a 2 year 8M deal

4M signing bonus
Salaries of 1.12M, 2.88M
Cap hits would be 3.12M, 4.88M
This deal is similar to the ones Troy Hill and AJ Bouye signed last year.
Season : Total Liabilities : Team Salary Cap : Cap Space
2022 : $203,044,863 : $208,917,819 : $5,872,956
2023 : $221,469,074 : $225,000,000 : $3,530,926
2024 : $161,792,731 : $256,000,000 : $94,207,269
Costs 2.295M in cap space (not 3.12M because the player at roster spot #51 making 825K is bumped out)

Sign S Justin Reid to a 3 year 18M deal

6M signing bonus
Salaries of 1.035M, 3.965M, 7M
Cap hits would be 3.035M, 5.965M, 9M
This deal is similar to the one Vonn Bell signed in 2020.
Season : Total Liabilities : Team Salary Cap : Cap Space
2022 : $205,254,863 : $208,917,819 : $3,662,956
2023 : $227,434,074 : $225,000,000 : ($2,434,074)
2024 : $170,792,731 : $256,000,000 : $85,207,269
Costs 2.21M in cap space (not 3.035M because the player at roster spot #51 making 825K is bumped out)

Sign CB Artie Burns to a 2 year 4M deal

1M signing bonus
Salaries of 1.035M, 1.965M
Cap hits would be 1.535M, 2.465M
This deal is similar to the ones Ryan Smith and Bobby McClain signed last year.
Season : Total Liabilities : Team Salary Cap : Cap Space
2022 : $205,964,863 : $208,917,819 : $2,952,956
2023 : $229,899,074 : $225,000,000 : ($4,899,074)
2024 : $170,792,731 : $256,000,000 : $85,207,269
Costs 710K in cap space (not 1.535M because the player at roster spot #51 making 825K is bumped out)

OK. We need 4.3M to sign the rookies and as you can see, the 2023 available cap space is negative 5M making it more likely that Thielen, Smith, Pierce, and possibly Cook and Kendricks could be gone. Moving on from these 4 in 2023 would save 49.5M in cap space.

The team will need to restructure one player to free up a few million just to sign the rookies.

It would ne nice to be able to trade Bradbury to another team that is also disappointed in their draft pick like the Dolphins for CB Noah Igbinoghene or the Raiders for DE Clelin Ferrell.

Heading to the draft, we have updated the center position and probably should let Davis, Udoh, and possibly Bradbury battle it out at right guard. We cant have every position being what some would consider optimal. I would say the line is looking very strong in this scenario providing that Cleveland continues to progress at left guard.

I think you should look beyond 2022 when you draft especially with cuts looming in 2023. Wide receiver could become a major need in 2023 even if Osborn and Smith-Marsette continue on their trajectories. An EDGE rusher opposite Hunter could become a major need but Wonnum did play decently and flashed occasionally. Linebacker could be a need but Surratt and Dye need to step up too.

12: R1 P12 OT Ikem Ekwonu - N.C. State

Height: 6 feet, 4 inches
Weight: 320 pounds
NCAA Football: Louisville at North Carolina State Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

46: R2 P14 TE Trey McBride - Colorado State (Senior Bowl)

Height: 6 feet, 3 1/8 inches
Weight: 249 pounds
Hand size: 10 1/8 inches
Arm length: 32 5/8 inches
Wingspan: 78 inches
NCAA Football: Nevada at Colorado State Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

77: R3 P13 WR Christian Watson - North Dakota State (Senior Bowl)

Height: 6 feet, 4 inches
Weight: 211 pounds
Hand size: 10 inches
Arm length: 32 3/4 inches
Wingspan: 77 1/8 inches
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: FEB 02 Reese’s Senior Bowl Practice Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

156: R5 P13 WR Calvin Austin III - Memphis (Senior Bowl)

Height: 5 feet, 7 3/8 inches
Weight: 173 pounds
Hand size: 9 1/8 inches
Arm length: 30 5/8 inches
Wingspan: 73 1/4 inches
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 25 UTSA at Memphis Photo by Chris McDill/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

183: R6 P5 LB Terrel Bernard - Baylor (Senior Bowl)

Height: 6 feet, 0 1/2 inches
Weight: 220 pounds
Hand size: 9 1/8 inches
Arm length: 30 5/8 inches
Wingspan: 74 inches
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 01 Allstate Sugar Bowl - Baylor v Ole Miss Photo by Chris McDill/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

191: R6 P13 CB Mario Goodrich - Clemson (Senior Bowl)

Height: 6 feet, 0 1/8 inch
Weight: 186 pounds
Hand size: 9 inches
Arm length: 30 1/2 inches
Wingspan: 74 1/8 inches
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 06 Clemson at Louisville Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

207: R6 P29 DL Matthew Butler - Tennessee (Shrine Bowl)

Height: 6 feet, 3 3/8 inches
Weight: 299 pounds
Hand size: 9 inches
Arm length: 33 1/8 inches
Wingspan: 82 2/8 inches
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 02 Bowling Green at Tennessee Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

230: R7 P11 S Yusuf Corker - Kentucky (Senior Bowl)

Height: 5 feet, 11 1/2 inches
Weight: 204 pounds
Hand size: 9 1/8 inches
Arm length: 30 7/8 inches
Wingspan: 75 inches
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: FEB 02 Reese’s Senior Bowl Practice Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Now, you have every right to call this plan idiotic because not much was done for the defense early in the draft. Once again, the offense gets more early picks. Crazy right?

But if this plan came true, the line would be ...

LT - Darrisaw, Udoh

LG - Cleveland

OC - Bozemam, Bradbury

RG - Ekwonu, Davis

RT - O’Neill, Brandel

That would be the best I can do for the QB that needs EVERYTHING in order to get his team into the playoffs. Sheesh.

I added in a top tight end and receiver too. Now taking two receivers may seem crazy but after 2022, Thielen is likely gone.

Now the offense is super strong and should be able to score plenty of points. Hopefully the defense can do just a little better.

You may wonder why I would draft a corner after signing three free agents but Hand, Boyd, and Nickerson will have to earn their role.

An alternate draft which I usually like better.

TRADES

Trade Partner: Pittsburgh Steelers

Sent: Round 1 Pick 12

Received: Round 1 Pick 20, Round 2 Pick 20

Trade Partner: Indianapolis Colts

Sent: Round 3 Pick 13

Received: Round 3 Pick 18, Round 5 Pick 16

20: R1 P20 EDGE Jermaine Johnson - Florida State

46: R2 P14 DL Travis Jones - Connecticut

52: R2 P20 S Jaquan Brisker - Penn State

82: R3 P18 WR Christian Watson - North Dakota State

156: R5 P13 LB Brian Asamoah - Oklahoma

159: R5 P16 LB Darrian Beavers - Cincinnati

183: R6 P5 OT Luke Goedeke - Central Michigan

191: R6 P13 CB Mario Goodrich - Clemson

207: R6 P29 TE Jelani Woods - Virginia

230: R7 P11 S Bubba Bolden - Miami

Well, there you have it.