After a furious two “unofficial” days of free agency, the Minnesota Vikings were much quieter as the new NFL league year got underway at 3:00 PM Central time this afternoon. However, there’s a new date that we’re going to have to keep an eye on as it pertains to the future of a few of the bigger names on the Minnesota roster.
The Vikings were compliant with the league’s salary cap when the new league year started, as all teams must be, but now the big date to look at is Friday, 17 March. Not because it’s St. Patrick’s Day and we’re all going to be looking for excuses to leave work early for. . .reasons. But in the case of the Vikings, there are three very important things that will happen on Friday if nothing changes.
Those things all involve guaranteed money, and they all involve players whose futures in Minnesota have been open to speculation since the reason ended. Here are those players and those guarantees:
- OLB Za’Darius Smith: $5.05 million
- RB Dalvin Cook: $2 million
- S Harrison Smith: $1.25 million
Za’Darius Smith, as we’ve heard, has reportedly asked the Vikings to release him. This seems like it’s something that could potentially happen after the signing of Marcus Davenport (who the Vikings are listing as an OLB), but there hasn't been any open acknowledgment of that being a possibility yet.
Cook, who had shoulder surgery a few weeks ago and has a cap figure of around $14 million this season, has reportedly garnered some trade interest. On the surface, $2 million doesn’t appear that it’s a prohibitive figure or anything, but it’s still a guarantee.
Harrison Smith, the longest-tenured Viking, has reportedly been talking with the team about a potential pay cut that would keep him on the roster for a twelfth season in purple. Smith had a solid season in 2022 and would seem to be the sort of player that Brian Flores would love, but with the team looking to get younger and faster on defense there might not be a place for him in 2023.
We’re still keeping an eye on what moves the Vikings are making after they surprised us with a flurry of early activity. If anything should happen to break, we’ll bring it to you right here as soon as we’re able.