The Vikings still have cap space. Here’s what they can do with it
As of this writing, the Minnesota Vikings cap space is in a relatively strong position. They have about $10.9 million left for this year, and above the ceiling, who ranks 21st in the NFL. Of course, keep in mind that there are still two draft picks left to sign, second-round picks Andrew Booth Jr. and Ed Ingram. Even after signing these two, the Vikings will have a good amount of money to work with. Here are some options for the remaining purple money.
Find another offensive lineman
After years of trying to string together uneven offensive lines by changing tackles to guard and guards to center, the Vikings finally seem determined to find the best possible options at every position. Currently, the runs for center and right guard look wide open for the taking. Why not throw another name into the mix? For instance, JC Tretter is still there.
Or, even moving outside the offensive line, Minnesota could add depth to tackle positions. Brian O’Neill has dodged the injury bug at this point in his career, but in the NFL it can strike at any time. And Christian Darrisaw missed parts of training camp and the regular season due to injury issues last year.
Daryl Williams is a guy I would keep an eye on. He has traditionally played at right tackle throughout his career, but he has the ability to switch inside at either guard position. In 2021, he spent a good chunk of his time at right guard for the Buffalo Bills. The Vikings could use a guy with that type of versatility.
Another close reception would be nice
The tight end position is a major cause for concern for the Vikings right now, at least in my humble opinion. Irv Smith appeared to be on the verge of a breakout season in 2021 following Kyle Rudolph’s departure to the New York Giants, but that opportunity was taken away from him when he tore his meniscus. Tyler Conklin did replace Smith, but he’s now a New York Jet.
Behind Smith, Johnny Mundt has 10 career receptions. The combination of Ben Ellefson, Zach Davidson and Zach Muse has one. Minnesota seems confident they can count on Mundt to provide some sort of receiving threat in 2022, but I’d feel much better if another receiving threat were thrown into the mix.
Funny enough, Kyle Rudolph has been making headlines for the past few weeks as a potential player. Eric Ebron is another name floating around in Viking circles. I’m going to throw another player in the hat: Jimmy Graham. Graham will enter his 36-year-old season in 2022, but as recently as 2020 he caught 8 touchdowns for the Bears. Even last year, he was more of a threat than Mundt has ever been in his career.
Improve EDGE depth
Currently, Minnesota has a pair of stars at EDGE in Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith. On the surface, they’re an awesome duo that could terrorize the division for years to come. That said, each of them has a history of debilitating injuries that can flare up at any time.
What’s even more disturbing is that the group behind these two carries a lot of uncertainty. DJ Wonnum was consistently overpowered in the running game, and Patrick Jones spent very little time on the court during his rookie season. If Hunter or Smith run out of time, there’s little evidence to suggest their impact can be replaced.
In order to provide some security, the Vikings might choose to use their heading space on EDGE depth. One player that comes to mind is someone who was at Minnesota last season, Everson Griffen.
Griffen performed very well with the Vikings, recording five sacks in nine games, before leaving the team after the incident with the police at his home. He said his mental health is in much better shape and he wants to return to the field in 2022. If so, why not bring him back to Minnesota?
Save it for next year
It’s the less exciting option, at least for now, but if the Minnesota Vikings are actually done spending, they can carry over their remaining cap space until 2022. There will inevitably be more signings for replacing injured players, so it’s highly unlikely. that they will be able to carry over $5-6 million.
That said, Minnesota needs as much money as possible for the 2023 offseason. They will have the option of doing contract restructurings next offseason, but so far they have only saved $1.8 million for 2023.
If you need a reminder, the upcoming offseason is an opportunity for the Vikings to sign Justin Jefferson to a contract extension before he can enter free agency in 2024. On top of that, Irv Smith Jr .is also expected to enter free agency next winter. Like I said, the Vikings need as much money as they can get.