Vikings sitting pretty with salary-cap space

The Vikings will have the ability to spend money on free agents they want with one of the better salary-cap positions in the league at this point.

With free agency less than a month away, teams are not only completing their own free agent list, they're assessing what outside free agents they can afford to bring aboard. With the 2014 cap number expected to be about $127 million, here is a preliminary list approximating the available cap room.

Thanks to contracts written that include incentives and escalators and expiring contracts that open up more cap space, some teams are scrambling to get under the cap by March 11 – the date free agency opens.

The Vikings are sixth in the league with almost $29 million available under the anticipated salary cap. Oakland leads the way with a whopping $63 million, followed by fellow also-rans Cleveland and Oakland. The highest cap space available by a playoff team is Indianapolis with $33.5 million available.

Here is the full list of teams in order of their projected salary cap space:

1. Oakland $63 million

2. Cleveland $56.9 million

3. Jacksonville $47.7 million

4. Indianapolis $33.5 million

5. Miami $32.6 million

6. Minnesota $28.9 million

7. Green Bay $28.1 million

8. Washington $24.9 million

9. Cincinnati $22.7 million

10. New York Jets $22.1 million

11. Philadelphia $20.7 million

12. Atlanta $19.2 million

13. Buffalo $19 million

14. Carolina $15.2 million

15. Tampa Bay $13.7 million

16. New York Giants $12.6 million

17. Baltimore $11.8 million

18. Arizona $11.6 million

19. Denver $11 million

20. San Francisco $6.7 million

21. Chicago $6.7 million

22. Tennessee $6.5 million

23. New England $6.1 million

24. New Orleans $3.7 million

25. Houston $3.2 million

26. Kansas City $2.4 million

27. St. Louis $1 million

28. Seattle $94,000

29. San Diego $881,000 over

30. Detroit $5.2 million over

31. Pittsburgh $10.6 million over

32. Dallas $24 million over

While free agency is open to everyone, it will be difficult for teams like the Cowboys, Steelers and Lions to have much, if any, maneuverability to sign outside free agents. Those teams will be scrambling to get players to restructure their contracts to create more cap space. It already started for the Lions with the release of WR Nate Burleson and S Louis Delmas. For the Vikings, the availability of cap space will allow them to compete for just about any free agent they want, but they are likely to remain true to the value they place on a player.

While the numbers will change as we get closer to free agency and teams make decisions to open up more cap space or re-sign their own free agents, one thing appears clear – when free agency opens, the Vikings will have as much or more money available to spend than all but a handful of teams.

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.

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