As the Vikings reshape their once-aged roster into a group of younger hopefuls, a few high-priced veterans remain.
Those are the same veterans that, in part, make up Leslie Frazier's leadership committee. Jared Allen and Kevin Williams, two of the top four highest paid Vikings, play on the defensive line, setting up the possibility for some interesting contract discussions this offseason.
Allen is scheduled to make $14.28 million in base salary in 2013, up from $11.62 million in 2012, and his cap hit will increase from $14.2 million to $16.86 million.
Kevin Williams is scheduled to make $7 million in base salary next year, the same base he had in 2012, and he has an annual $500,000 workout bonus. But his cap number actually decreases from $8.39 million to $7.5 million because the prorated portion of his signing bonus ($5.5 million) expires off cap calculations in 2013.
The salary cap is expected to be just over $120 million in 2013, meaning more than one-fifth of their salary cap next season would be taken up by players who will be 33 (Williams) and 31 (Allen) when the season starts.
It sets up for the possibility of the team approaching one or both of those players about restructuring their deals.
"I haven't even thought about it. I'm not going to worry about it," Williams said. "We'll work something out if that comes up. But I haven't given it much thought."
Williams is signed through 2014, with his cap charges scheduled to be $7.5 million in each of the next two seasons, and he indicated this week he would like to play it out.
"Maybe 2-3 more years would be good. Hopefully the body will hold up until then and to be able to still do it at a high level, that might be the max. I don't think I can pull an Antoine," Williams said, referring to cornerback Antoine Winfield, who is 35 years old, just finished his 14th season and plans to play at least one more year.
Williams, a first-round pick in 2003, was once a dominating presence on the defensive line and was a key part of the Vikings' run as the top run defense in the league five years ago. This year he finished 11th on the team with 42 tackles, seventh with two sacks and sixth in tackles-for-loss, fourth with 18 quarterback hurries and eighth with seven passes defensed.
After a winning season for the first time in three years, Williams can at least feel good about the direction of the team.
"It's a better feeling, but you're not satisfied with not just getting there. We wanted to stay in a little while longer and make a run," he said.
"I think we're on the right track. To bring in the young guys we did and mix them in with the older guys, I think we had good success and can keep building. If we come in next year and bomb I think we'll all be disappointed. We want to build from that and I think we're on the right track."
Williams said he would take three to four weeks off to rest his body and then start working out again in preparation for the 2013 season. He hopes that means an 11th straight season with the team that drafted him in 2003.
"Would love to, but you know … I'll just leave it at that," he said.
"I'm not worried about it. I feel like I can play a few more years. Hopefully it's here."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Williams, Allen have heavy cap charges
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