The Vikings may have a problem facing them when the Collective Bargaining Agreement is finally reached – the salary cap.
ESPN's John Clayton, who is as dialed in as just about any NFL reporter, came up with a list of a more than a half-dozen teams that could find themselves pressed tight to the salary cap, which is expected to return when a CBA is approved.
Clayton said the cap could be as low as $117 million or as high as $125 million and seven teams – Dallas, Oakland, the New York Giants, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Indianapolis and Green Bay – may need to make moves to come into accordance with it.
According to Clayton's figures, the Vikings are more than $5 million above the salary cap and releasing Bernard Berrian would help a lot ($3.7 million in cap savings), but wouldn't get the job done. The biggest issue is that Adrian Peterson, who is entering the final year of his contract, counts almost $11 million against the 2011 salary cap.
The ideal scenario under which the Vikings would gain more cap room would be the re-sign Peterson to a long-term deal that, while costing the team a lot in the future, would open up cap space in the short-term.
It was assumed that, with Brett Favre's $16-$20 million salary coming off the books, the Vikings would have plenty of cap space available, but with some veteran contracts entering the heavy-lifting stage, the Vikings could find themselves pressed hard against the cap moving forward.
As tough as things may be on the Vikings, they could be worse. The Cowboys are an estimated $19 million over the cap and could make up a lot of that by releasing RB Marion Barber, WR Roy Williams and OT Marc Colombo, but those three players have $27 million in signing bonuses that, despite being the in the middle of their deals, would create a lot of "dead money" for the Cowboys that would almost negate their releases. Oakland, which hasn't been within sniffing distance of the playoffs for years, is an estimated $10 million over the salary cap and the Giants and Steelers are even deeper against the cap.
At this point, it's unclear what the new salary cap will be, but one thing would appear to be certain – a lot of veteran players are going to get cut in order to make the roster figures needed and the Vikings may be one of the teams forced to scramble moving forward.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
Report: Vikings may be over salary cap
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