5 moves to save the Vikings $40 million in cap space in 2023

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Dalvin Cook
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Dalvin Cook /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images) Brian O’Neill /

Restructure Brian O’Neill

  • Cap savings – $10.06 million

Making Brian O’Neill one of the NFL’s highest-paid right tackles was nothing more than the player deserved. He’s been a model of consistency since joining the Vikings as a second-round selection and providing there is a full recovery from a calf injury suffered late in the season, there’s every chance this exceptional form continues in the coming years.

O’Neill and stud left tackle Christian Darrisaw emerged as one of the NFL’s best bookend protectors in 2022. Something that benefitted quarterback Kirk Cousins and also carved up lanes for running back Dalvin Cook to work off the edge.

Minnesota is in some severe cap hell this off-season. Kicking the financial can down the road is rapidly becoming a trend across the league, so restructuring O’Neill’s contract is one of the more likely scenarios the Vikings should consider.

The former Pittsburgh Panther still gets his money either way. Moving this money around is projected to free up a little more than $10 million on Minnesota’s 2023 cap, which is a substantial sum that can be put to good use.

There’s nothing to suggest O’Neill wouldn’t agree to this if it means retaining or signing players that can continue the fine work Kevin O’Connell put in during his first season as head coach. But considering the current constraints, even this represents a drop in the ocean.