Vikings avoiding much ‘dead money'

The Vikings are running short on cap space, but they don't have too much dead money – money from terminated contracts – weighing them down now.

The Vikings have just over $5.1 million in salary cap room. With two first-round picks and 11 draft picks overall (currently), that won't leave much room for them to add much more in free agency.

Despite arranging the contract of their most significant free agent signing, Greg Jennings, to go easy on this year's salary cap, resigning six of their unrestricted free agents and adding Jennings and Matt Cassel in outside free agency put $21.8 million against the 2013 cap. Their actual cash outlay for those eight players was $37.2 this year, meaning more than $15 million was pushed into future years.

The contracts of Jennings and right tackle Phil Loadholt were the biggest culprits. Jennings counts only $5 million against this year's cap despite a $13 million cash value – $3 million in salary and workout incentives and $10 million in signing bonus. Loadholt counts $4.75 million against the cap this year, despite a $10 million cash outlay.

Most of the Vikings' other signings match up when comparing cap charge to cash value in the first year. Cassel's contract is $3.7 million on both ends, and Jerome Simpson's is $2.1 million on each. FB Jerome Felton counts $1.67 million against the cap with $3 million in first-year cash outlay, and S Jamarca Sanford ($2.25 million against the cap) and LB Erin Henderson ($1.75 against the cap) have only a $250,000 difference in cap charge and actual first-year cash outlay.

In the grand scheme of NFL accounting, the Vikings have actually done a good job in not having too much "dead" money – money still being charged against the cap for players no longer on the roster – so far this year.

The biggest expense in that area is Michael Jenkins, who still has $666,668 in prorated signing bonus counting against this year's cap after he was released earlier this month.

The only other "dead money" of the six-figure variety is safety Eric Frampton, who has $333,334 still on the cap. Defensive end Trevor Guyton is the only player no longer with the team who has a 2013 cap number in five-figure territory, with $45,192 counting against the cap.

Other than that, there are a dozen young prospects whose contracts were terminated but who are still counting against this year's cap, ranging anywhere from $6,667 to $1,334.

Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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