Well, considering there is not much news and as I gear up for the college football season in the endless search for future Vikings, it is always fun (for me) to do an early mock draft. As always, before doing a mock, one really should look at the cap situation for 2023 as it should inform your mock.
The team has 10.9M in cap space right now but still needs to sign Andrew Booth and Ed Ingram which will cost about 900K in additional cap space leaving 10M in cap space. They need about 3M for the practice squad players. That would leave 7M for any other possible signings. I doubt any signing would be for much more than the minimum at this point. Also, I doubt some of the veterans still available would play for the minimum as well. Now I can contradict myself and say if Ndamukong Suh wants to play for the Vikings then they will have to come up with 8 to 10M per year.
For 2023, the current cap space is 2M (for 55 players) but does not include Booth and Ingram. Since they are second round picks, there second year cap hit would be more than the 875K that the last two players in the top 51 calculation are making. The difference is about 1.8M which basically takes the 2023 available cap space down to 200K.
The team is likely to be very thrifty with any moves the rest of this year unless they get Kong. I think they’ll try to carry over as much of that 7M as possible. However, they do have some NLTBE (not likely to be earned) incentives that could lower that 2023 cap space. Adam Thielen could get an extra 1.33M and Z. Smith could get up to 4M which would come off the 2023 available cap space.
I’ll assume Smith reaches his incentives but Thielen will not. That would remove 3 to 4M from the 2023 cap space leaving about 3M.
There are some contract triggers next year too.
Year : Date : Player : Trigger : Base Salary : Roster Bonus
2023 : February 15 : Patrick Peterson : 2023 contract year voids : $0 : $0
2023 : February 20 : Jesse Davis : Contract voids : $0 : $0
2023 : February 23 : Dalvin Tomlinson : Contract voids : $0 : $0
2023 : March 19 : Brian O’Neill : Salary is guaranteed : $14,400,000 : $0
2023 : March 19 : Za’Darius Smith : $5.05 million is guaranteed : $9,450,000 : $0
2023 : March 19 : Adam Thielen : $11.817 million is guaranteed : $11,817,647 : $0
2023 : March 19 : Chris Reed : $500,000 is guaranted : $2,450,000 : $0
2023 : March 20 : Dalvin Cook : $2M is guaranteed : $10,400,000 : $0
2023 : March 20 : Harrison Smith : $1.25 million is guaranteed : $14,700,000 : $0
2023 : March 20 : Kirk Cousins : Roster bonus due : $10,000,000 : $20,000,000
2023 : March 20 : Jordan Hicks : $1.5 million is guaranteed : $4,450,000 : $0
2023 : March 20 : Harrison Phillips : Base salary is guaranteed : $4,450,000 : $0
Kendricks will be in the last year of his deal and if they moved him they would save 9.5M in cap space and eat 1.93M in dead money.
Cook has a 14M cap hit and if they moved him they would save 7.9M in cap space and eat 6.5M in dead money.
Ham has a 3.8M cap hit and if they moved him they would save 3M in cap space and eat 750K in dead money.
If they move all three of these players then they would create an additional 20M in cap space bringing the available amount to 20 to 23M.
They will have to figure out an extension for Hunter and probably Justin Jefferson as well. Other possible extensions could be for Irv Smith Jr, Patrick Peterson, and Chandon Sullivan.
I think we will need to kick the can a little bit more down the road as a result of the lower cap number in 2021. It may take a few seasons to recover from that lower number.
So, now that I have bored you even more, what positions will the Vikings look at early next year? QB is always a consideration but I expect there will be some folks who argue that since Cousins is under contract for 2023 and we still have Kellen Mond, we can wait another year. There will also be some who will want to give Cousins another extension. If they get to the Super Bowl then I can live with that but I do not think it will end well. It doesn’t end well for any older QB really. John Elway and Peyton Manning are the only two QBs that retired after winning the Super Bowl. That ended well for them but I do not think it ended well for the team.
Considering Peterson and Sullivan will be free agents next year, cornerback will once again be a need. Sheesh.
Edge rusher could be a need if the team does not want to spend big on Hunter or decides to cut bait with Z. Smith.
Safety could be a need if the team wants to move on from H. Smith.
Receiver could be a need if the team wants to move on from Theilen.
Center could be a need if the team does not extend Bradbury.
Guard is always a need.
Without fuurther ado, here is the latest iteration from Drafttek
1.17 Cam Smith CB South Carolina
Height: 6’1” Weight: 187
2.49 Cameron Latu TE Alabama
Height: 6’4” Weight: 250
3.81 Phil Jurkovec QB Boston College
Height: 6’4” Weight: 226
4.112 John Michael Schmitz OC Minnesota
Height: 6’4” Weight: 320
5.144 Zion Tupuola-Fetui EDGE Washington
Height: 6’2” Weight: 260
6.176 Cody Simon OLB Ohio State
Height: 6’1” Weight: 233
7.208 Zakhari Franklin WR UTSA
Height: 6’1” Weight: 185
I figure the rankings are too low right now and players like Schmitz, Tupuola-Fetui, and Franklin probably go higher. But not today. 🙂
I could see the team needing a tight end early next year and definitely a center.
Well, just a little something to consider.