Vikings v. average starting salaries, defense

How do the Vikings compare to the NFL average for paying their starting defenders? The results were somewhat expected, but the deficit in the secondary is perhaps an indication of why the Vikings have struggled to shut down opposing passing games.

For four straight years, the Vikings defense was first or second in the NFL stopping the run. That run came to an end, last year ranking 11th against the rush and 26th against the pass.

Is it is a matter of not spending enough on the defensive starters or something else? When compared to the rest of the NFL, the Vikings spend more on their defensive line and far less on their secondary.

So, how do the Vikings compare at all positions on defense? We compare. (Note: average 2011 starting salaries provided by a tweet from an NFL agent; without a significant increase in the 2012 salary cap, these figures should remain close for 2012).

DEFENSIVE TACKLE – With the loss of Pat Williams last year, Remi Ayodele was supposed to be the replacement but turned out to be a semi-expensive mistake. He cost the Vikings $1.8 million against the salary cap last year and will continue to take a bite out of their 2012 cap with his release – approximately $1.2 million if the Vikings elect to spread out his prorated bonus over the next two years. This year, after their release of Ayodele, the Vikings essentially replaced his deal with Letroy Guion's new contract, except that Guion wasn't offered the same guaranteed money. Complete details of Guion's contract aren't yet known, but he should cost the Vikings less than half the NFL average of $4.43 million for starting defensive tackles. Kevin Williams, on the other hand, will cost about $6.71 million in cap space in 2012. NFL average: $4.43M. Vikings' expected average in 2012: About $4.4 million.

DEFENSIVE END – While Adrian Peterson has the highest average salary per season among the Vikings, Jared Allen has the highest in cap number in 2012 at $12.7 million. After nearly breaking the NFL's single-season sack record, Allen might be the only defensive end in the league worth that kind of money. The NFL average is $4.16 million, showing how much more the Vikings value the ability to get to the quarterback without blitzing too often in their zone-based defense. Defensive end Brian Robison started a three-year, heavily incentivized contract last year and reached his incentives to significantly bump up his salary in 2012. He is now slated to cost the Vikings $3.98 million in cap space, which is still below the NFL average for a starting defensive end, but he would rise well above that next season. NFL average: DE $4.16M. Vikings' expected average in 2012: $8.34M.

LINEBACKER – This position can't be fully analyzed until all three starters are known. We'll operate under the assumption that Jasper Brinkley wins the middle spot, but we do know that Chad Greenway holds the biggest value for the Vikings after signing his contract extension through 2016. In 2012, his cap number with be a healthy $7.7 million, almost exactly double the NFL average for a starting linebacker. The other outside linebacker, Erin Henderson, just agreed to a one-year, $2 million contract, and Brinkley, in the final year of his rookie deal, will cost the Vikings only $611,500 against the cap. NFL average: $3.86M. Vikings' expected average in 2012: $3.44M.

CORNERBACK – Once again, the starters aren't known at this point because one of them could come from the draft. For now, we'll assume that Antoine Winfield and Chris Cook are the starters, but Winfield could bounce inside to nickel if another starter is obtained. Winfield's salary was contractually slashed from $7 million to $3 million in 2012 because of a lack of snaps once again in 2011. Still, he is easily the highest earner at cornerback left on the team, despite that reduction putting him below the NFL average. (Cedric Griffin would have had the highest cornerback cap number if he hadn't been released.) Cook, a 2010 second-round pick, is scheduled to cost $1.066 against the cap. NFL average: $4.77M. Vikings' expected average in 2012: $2.03M.

SAFETY – For now, the starters at the end of the 2011 season, Jamarca Sanford and Mistral Raymond, are still the starters. No safeties have been signed in free agency. Sanford's salary increased to $615,000 in 2012 with a cap number of $627,000, and Raymond is scheduled to cost the Vikings $499,000. Both are less than one-fourth the NFL average for a starting safety. NFL average: $3.07M. Vikings' expected average in 2012: $563,000.


Total NFL defensive average for starters (2 DT, 2 DE, 3 LB, 2 CB, 2 S): $44.44M. Vikings' expected average in 2012: $40.99M.

The results on defense are somewhat expected. The Vikings invest more on their defensive line than the typical NFL team, especially at defensive end, where Allen's contract more than doubles the Vikings up at that position compared to the NFL average. Greenway's contract bolsters the team's linebacker numbers and puts them about $1.3 million below the NFL average at linebacker, but secondary is where the Vikings fall well short of the league average. While NFL teams average $9.54 million for their starting cornerbacks, the Vikings (with their personnel so far) are at just $4.06 million, and safety is even further below the average. The league average is $6.14 million combined for two starting safeties; the Vikings are $1.13 as their safeties currently stand.


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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\r\n\r\n","mobileBody":"For four straight years, the Vikings defense was first or second in the NFL stopping the run. That run came to an end, last year ranking 11th against the rush and 26th against the pass. Is it is a matter of not spending enough on the defensive starters or something else? When compared to the rest of the NFL, the Vikings spend more on their defensive line and far less on their secondary. So, how do the Vikings compare at all positions on defense? We compare. (Note: average 2011 starting salaries provided by a tweet from an NFL agent; without a significant increase in the 2012 salary cap, these figures should remain close for 2012). With the loss of Pat Williams last year, Remi Ayodele was supposed to be the replacement but turned out to be a semi-expensive mistake. He cost the Vikings $1.8 million against the salary cap last year and will continue to take a bite out of their 2012 cap with his release – approximately $1.2 million if the Vikings elect to spread out his prorated bonus over the next two years. This year, after their release of Ayodele, the Vikings essentially replaced his deal with Letroy Guion's new contract, except that Guion wasn't offered the same guaranteed money. Complete details of Guion's contract aren't yet known, but he should cost the Vikings less than half the NFL average of $4.43 million for starting defensive tackles. Kevin Williams, on the other hand, will cost about $6.71 million in cap space in 2012. $4.43M. . While Adrian Peterson has the highest average salary per season among the Vikings, Jared Allen has the highest in cap number in 2012 at $12.7 million. After nearly breaking the NFL's single-season sack record, Allen might be the only defensive end in the league worth that kind of money. The NFL average is $4.16 million, showing how much more the Vikings value the ability to get to the quarterback without blitzing too often in their zone-based defense. Defensive end Brian Robison started a three-year, heavily incentivized contract last year and reached his incentives to significantly bump up his salary in 2012. He is now slated to cost the Vikings $3.98 million in cap space, which is still below the NFL average for a starting defensive end, but he would rise well above that next season. DE $4.16M. $8.34M. This position can't be fully analyzed until all three starters are known. We'll operate under the assumption that Jasper Brinkley wins the middle spot, but we do know that Chad Greenway holds the biggest value for the Vikings after signing his contract extension through 2016. In 2012, his cap number with be a healthy $7.7 million, almost exactly double the NFL average for a starting linebacker. The other outside linebacker, Erin Henderson, just agreed to a one-year, $2 million contract, and Brinkley, in the final year of his rookie deal, will cost the Vikings only $611,500 against the cap. $3.86M. $3.44M. Once again, the starters aren't known at this point because one of them could come from the draft. For now, we'll assume that Antoine Winfield and Chris Cook are the starters, but Winfield could bounce inside to nickel if another starter is obtained. Winfield's salary was contractually slashed from $7 million to $3 million in 2012 because of a lack of snaps once again in 2011. Still, he is easily the highest earner at cornerback left on the team, despite that reduction putting him below the NFL average. (Cedric Griffin would have had the highest cornerback cap number if he hadn't been released.) Cook, a 2010 second-round pick, is scheduled to cost $1.066 against the cap. $4.77M. $2.03M. For now, the starters at the end of the 2011 season, Jamarca Sanford and Mistral Raymond, are still the starters. No safeties have been signed in free agency. Sanford's salary increased to $615,000 in 2012 with a cap number of $627,000, and Raymond is scheduled to cost the Vikings $499,000. Both are less than one-fourth the NFL average for a starting safety. $3.07M. $563,000. $44.44M. $40.99M. The results on defense are somewhat expected. The Vikings invest more on their defensive line than the typical NFL team, especially at defensive end, where Allen's contract more than doubles the Vikings up at that position compared to the NFL average. Greenway's contract bolsters the team's linebacker numbers and puts them about $1.3 million below the NFL average at linebacker, but secondary is where the Vikings fall well short of the league average. While NFL teams average $9.54 million for their starting cornerbacks, the Vikings (with their personnel so far) are at just $4.06 million, and safety is even further below the average. The league average is $6.14 million combined for two starting safeties; the Vikings are $1.13 as their safeties currently stand. 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