4 Vikings players who are living on borrowed time

(Photo by Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports) Anthony Harris
(Photo by Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports) Anthony Harris /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports) Shamar Stephen /

Shamar Stephen – DT

Shamar Stephen might be the odd man out when free-agent signing Michael Pierce returns for the Vikings in 2021 after deciding to opt-out this season amid COVID-19 health concerns.

Stephen has been solid if not spectacular this season, but there are some financial implications to consider when looking at his future with the franchise.

As stated previously, Minnesota has some major cap issues upcoming this offseason. The salary cap is expected to come down or stay the same due to a lack of revenue in the current climate and some extremely hard decisions need to be made by the front office to keep the Vikings competitive in 2021.

Stephen is set to count more than $5 million against the cap next year, which would represent a savings for Minnesota of around $3.75 million if he’s moved on.

This would be a nice chunk of change for the Vikings to save on a player who hasn’t exactly set the world alight in terms of production and getting a little bit younger in this area of the field wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world at this juncture.

The former seventh-round pick has 33 tackles, two tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, three quarterback hits, and three pressures this season. Stephen has missed just one tackle and has a creditable 64.2 grade from Pro Football Focus, but the Vikings need to find a better long-term replacement for Linval Joseph to put alongside Pierce.