The free agency window officially opens up on March 17. As of now, the Vikings aren’t in a great place to make any more moves.
Minnesota has agreed to terms with DE Stephen Weatherly already. However, the team appears to be over the salary cap floor. If the $180 million floor ends up being the salary cap, Minnesota will have to make some tough decisions to free up space.
Here are some of the decisions the team could make before it signs more players. Now, I don’t agree with all of these, but they are all possibilities at the moment. Here is the full list:
K Dan Bailey
Minnesota Vikings kicker Dan Bailey. Photo; AP Photo/Jason Behnken
The Vikings garner $1.7 million in cap savings and $2.1 million in dead money with the move to cut Bailey, according to Over The Cap. Bailey struggled mightily down the stretch of last season. Two of his last three NFL seasons have been inconsistent. The team also signed Greg Joseph this offseason. It might be time to move on from Bailey.
P Britton Colquitt
Minnesota Vikings punter Britton Colquitt. Photo: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
In letting Colquitt go, Minnesota saves over $1.7 million in cap savings and incurs over $1.4 million in dead money, per Over The Cap. This is another move that would not create massive cap space. However, it’s a move that makes sense. Colquitt struggled at times last season and he’s on a pricy contract for a punter. Minnesota could cut him and sign a cheaper punter during the free agency window.
DT Shamar Stephen
Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Shamar Stephen. Photo: AP Photo/David Berding
Shamar Stephen had a PFF grade of 61.7 at the nose tackle position. With Michael Pierce presumably on Minnesota next season, it might not make a ton of sense to keep Stephen’s contract. Granted, Pierce isn’t going to play over 600 snaps, but Stephen staying on with his current deal is still hard to rationalize. The Vikings get $3.75 million in cap savings and take a dead money hit of more than $1.3 million with the move to cut him, per Over The Cap. If Stephen is not a starter at nose tackle or three-technique defense tackle next season, his contract might be too costly to keep.
LT Riley Reiff
Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Riley Reiff. Photo: AP Photo/David Berding
This one I especially don’t want the Vikings to do. I think the team should prioritize trying to keep Reiff this offseason. He is a good left tackle and based on that, his contract isn’t egregious by any means. Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press reported that the Vikings want to restructure with Reiff this offseason. Hopefully, the team can do that, but if not, the cap savings would make this move tempting for them. The Vikings save $11.75 million if they cut him and incur $3.2 million in dead money. Overall, they shouldn’t part with Reiff, but the team might do it to get under the salary cap.