Has Rick Spielman’s free agency start boosted his contract hopes?

(Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) Rick Spielman
(Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) Rick Spielman /
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LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 12: Cornerback
LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 12: Cornerback /

The departures

Given the lack of cap space, the Minnesota Vikings had to work with, high-profile departures were inevitable.

Former first-round pick Trae Waynes is no longer with the organization after signing a lucrative three-year, $42 million deal with the Cincinnati Bengals. This included a $15m signing bonus and $15m guaranteed.

Waynes has struggled covering on the outside during the last two seasons. There was no way Minnesota was going to commit that sort of money to a player that has flattered to deceive during his time with the franchise.

Fellow cornerback Mackensie Alexander is another to swap the Vikings for Cincinnati on a one-year deal worth $4 million. This raised more than a few eyebrows with the Minnesota fanbase, with the player developing into a real favorite during his time with the organization.

Even though he has thrived in the nickel, Alexander wasn’t too keen on becoming a specialist in this area of the field and appeared unwilling to occupy the role on a long-term basis. This represents a big blow to the Vikings, who now has just Mike Hughes and Holton Hill as cornerback options.

The Vikings also lost defensive end Stephen Weatherly after the player agreed to terms on a two-year, $12.5 million contract with the Carolina Panthers. This appeared to be out of Minnesota’s price range despite their willingness to keep the player on the roster.

Weatherly brings a lot to the table and will no doubt thrive with more opportunities in Carolina. Replacing Linval Joseph on the defensive line was a bigger need than paying a rotational player would have been in contention for a starting spot now Everson Griffen is not coming back.

Safety Jayron Kearse stays in the NFC North thanks to a one-year, $2.5 million deal with the Detroit Lions. This was an expected departure and one that does not impact the Vikings as much as others thanks to their standout tandem of Anthony Harris and Harrison Smith.

The same can be said of Andrew Sendejo, who was brought back into the fold last season and recently signed a one-year, $2.25 million deal to reunite with former Vikings’ offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski at the Cleveland Browns.