The Vikings aren't as tight against the salary cap as we had previously thought.
New details regarding Anthony Barr's restructured contract emerged on Monday evening, and they create another $6 million in cap space for Minnesota. Instead of a $12.1 million cap hit in 2021, Barr's cap hit is just $6.1 million. For the second time this offseason, Rob Brzezinski and the Vikings have used voidable years to create cap space by pushing money into future years.
Here's how Barr's restructured deal works, per the Star Tribune's Ben Goessling: $8.4 million signing bonus, $3 million in sack incentives, and voidable years in 2022 and 2023.
The Vikings also used void years in Dalvin Tomlinson's two-year contract. It's just another creative way of reducing a player's cap hit in 2021 and pushing money down the line into future years. The reason why teams are comfortable doing things like that is because the salary cap is expected to bounce back significantly in the coming years due to the return of ticket sales and other fan revenue, the addition of a 17th game, and most importantly, the impact of the NFL's massive new TV deals.
So Barr's cap hit is just $6.1 million, which is right around Tomlinson's $6 million.
Peterson's cap hit was originally thought to be $9 million, but it turns out all $2 million of his incentives are deemed Not Likely To Be Earned (NLTBE) and will hit the cap in 2022. So his cap hit is just $8 million. The Vikings had to get creative with making his playing time incentives NLTBE because Peterson played almost 100 percent of snaps last year, and they likely did so by mixing in easily-reachable statistical incentives that the Vikings didn't meet as a team in 2020.
With all of that factored in, the Vikings have over $10 million in cap space right now (Over the Cap has them at $10.3 million). That's with Kyle Rudolph's contract still on the books. When his contract comes off on June 2nd, the Vikings will receive an additional $7.9 million in cap space, which they can use to sign their draft class and retain flexibility heading into the season.
What that means is all $10.3 million is usable right now. But what will Rick Spielman and the Vikings do with it? They badly need a safety and at least one offensive lineman. They could also use a defensive end and a wide receiver. There's room to make a few bargain pickups now that the first couple waves of free agency have come and gone.
This news about the Vikings' cap space raises questions about why they were unable to sign Anthony Harris at the one-year, $5 million price tag he received from the Eagles. Perhaps there were other factors at play there.
Regardless, the Vikings now are back in business. It'll be interesting to see if they make any moves soon or continue to wait out the market, and what those moves will end up looking like.
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