The opening of the franchise tag window in the National Football League is an event that most fans of the Minnesota Vikings meet with a pretty resounding yawn. The team has used the franchise tag just three times in its history, starting with tight end Jim Kleinsasser in 2003. They’ve also used it on linebacker Chad Greenway (2011) and safety Anthony Harris (2020). The franchise tag has been in place since the mid-90s, but the Vikings have just never had a lot of reason to use it.
They have just about no reason to use it this year.
Even if the Vikings weren’t already about $15 million over the salary cap, there just aren’t a lot of players on their free agent list that would be worthy of a tag this offseason. If you look at that list, you’ll see some big names on it, like Anthony Barr, Sheldon Richardson, Patrick Peterson, and Xavier Woods.
While it would definitely be nice to keep some of those players around, the franchise tag isn’t the way to go about it. For example, according to the list of franchise tender amounts, putting the tag on Barr would cost around $18.7 million. Anthony Barr is a pretty good player. . .but he’s not getting almost $19 million.
The cost would “only” be somewhere in the mid-$17 million range for Richardson (depending on whether he was classed as a defensive tackle or defensive end), about $17.2 million for Peterson, and just a shade under $13 million for Woods. That’s a whole lot of cash that the Vikings don’t presently have and doesn’t look to be coming their way any time soon.
So, it appears that franchise tag season is once again going to be something for Vikings fans to sleep through this offseason. The window opened yesterday and will stay open until mid-March, right around the time free agency is set to kick off. If something does happen, we’ll talk about it here once we get over the initial shock.