The deadline for the Minnesota Vikings to use their franchise or transition tag on a potential free-agent passed on Tuesday without the team making a move.
For 2019, the Minnesota Vikings have a number of notable contributors from last season that are scheduled to become free-agents. Since the Vikings currently do not have a lot of cap space, the belief is that the team likely won’t be able to retain some of their best players from 2018 like linebacker Anthony Barr and defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson.
One way Minnesota could have made sure Barr or Richardson remained on their roster for next season would have been to use the franchise or transition tag on either of them. But the Vikings couldn’t really afford to do that, so no such move was made by the team before the deadline to tag players came and went on Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET.
With this decision, Barr, Richardson, and every other impending unrestricted free-agent that Minnesota decided not to tag before Tuesday will now be free to sign with whatever NFL team they desire when the new league year begins on March 13.
It’s not surprising that the Vikings didn’t use the franchise or transition tag on any player this offseason and there are a number of reasons to explain why.
First, Minnesota has only ever tagged a player twice since the action was first allowed by the NFL in 1993. And second, the two players that were the best candidates to be tagged this year (Barr and Richardson) would have cost the Vikings a bunch of money that they currently don’t have.
To use the franchise tag on Barr or Richardson for 2019, Minnesota would then be on the books to pay either of them more than $15 million to stay on the roster.
Tuesday’s decision is one that some may be disappointed with. But based on the Vikings’ current financial situation, they really didn’t have any other choice.