Clearing some salary space
The next step can be solved in the Kirk Cousins drama but at some point, the Vikings need to address the ongoing salary cap issue. Sure, they have done a good job of deferring money until later years to keep the cap number down while moving higher cap hits to the future when the salary cap will increase.
It’s been a sound strategy and one that many teams have taken advantage of, but now the Vikings are staring down the devil. They are $11 million over the cap for next season as things stand and the only way they can really get back into the positive is if they move a key player or give more extensions and create the same problem.
Danielle Hunter, Eric Kendricks, and Adam Thielen are the three veterans who make the most sense in terms of cap casualties but losing them would devastate the fan base. Harrison Smith is another candidate after signing a four-year extension this past offseason.
Anthony Barr has void years in his contract but his actual contract is already up. The Vikings will eat his cap number for the next two seasons in some capacity, either by taking on the entirety of the deal in one season (which is roughly $9.8 million) or by splitting it evenly over the next two years.
There are serious question marks regarding the current roster and how the Vikings can get back into the mix in the NFC. They have some young stars on offense but the lack of clarity at quarterback and an aging, diminishing defense has the future looking scary.
The next few months need to be focused on cleaning up some of the mess from the past few years and getting the team back on track. This is not necessarily going to be easy or fun but it has to happen in order for things to get going in the right direction.