3 Moves the Vikings Need to Make to Get Under the Salary Cap by March 15
The Minnesota Vikings have a lot to prove to their fans this offseason after a 13-4 regular-season record was erased by a first-round playoff exit. Unfortunately, management doesn't have a lot of money to play with. According to Spotrac, the Vikings are projected to be about $21 million over the 2023 salary cap.
Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah will be a busy man in the coming weeks if he wants to free up cap space before free agency begins on March 15. Fortunately, there are players that can be cut and deals that can be restructured to help Minnesota achieve that goal.
Here are three moves that the Vikings need to make to get under the salary cap by March 15.
Vikings Offseason Rumors
1. Restructure Adam Thielen's Deal
Adam Thielen is a Vikings fan favorite, but his best days are long behind him. He hasn't hit the 1,000-yard mark or reached the Pro Bowl since 2018 and his receiving totals continue to decline with each passing season. Needless to say, he's not worth a cap hit that's north of $19.6 million in 2023. While the Vikings can save around $6.1 million by cutting him, it makes more sense to restructure his contract. Outside of Justin Jefferson, Thielen is Minnesota's only other receiving threat. If the team wants to remain competitive next season, converting a chunk of his cap hit to bonus money is the most logical decision.
2. Cut Dalvin Cook
Dalvin Cook is one of the most talented running backs in the NFL today, but it might be time for a change in scenery. After all, his play has declined in recent years. He went from scoring 29 rushing touchdowns in 28 games between 2019 and 2020 to 14 TDs in 30 games over the last two seasons. On top of that, his 69.0 rushing yards per game last fall were the second-fewest of his career. Cutting Cook would free up about $8 million in cap space — an amount that the Vikings can use to bolster their defense. Besides, they can also re-sign Alexander Mattinson — who looks like a legitimate No. 1 RB whenever Cook misses time — to a much cheaper deal.
3. Cut C.J. Ham
Fullbacks don't have much of a place in the modern NFL and C.J. Ham's 2022 campaign was an example of that. Despite playing in all 17 games, Ham only played on 15% of offensive snaps — the second-fewest of his career. While his production was decent (93 scrimmage yards and two TDs on 14 touches), it's not worth the $3.8 million cap hit he commands next season. Cutting Ham would open $3.05 million in cap space, which is something the Vikings can't ignore considering how they can find a cheaper backfield replacement either through the draft or free agency.
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