But the league and the players association have a program in place that annually rewards those players and gives them significant offseason checks to acknowledge their role with their respective teams that exceeded their weekly game checks.
The NFL's Performance-Based Pay program rewards players for living up to or exceeding their contracts. The numbers are out and the Vikings had some players earning significant spending money.
Teams were allotted $3.46 million each and there was a complicated formula by which the money is distributed – based on playtime percentage, adjusted salary, a salary-based player index and a percentage of the team's payroll to arrive at a figure.
Everybody got something. Jared Allen had a salary cap number of nearly $17 million and he gets a check for $9,280 on April 1. Josh Freeman played horribly in one game and gets a check for $3,661. A total of 39 players earned $30,000 or more and some of the figures were impressive.
Right guard Brandon Fusco got the biggest check ($237,061), which represents almost 40 percent of his salary for 2013 ($594,167). Other big payouts came to Marcus Sherels ($186,750), Andrew Sendejo ($188,487), Robert Blanton ($169,376), Josh Robinson ($153,952), Audie Cole ($133,624), Everson Griffen ($131,803), Marvin Mitchell ($118,134), Jarius Wright ($104,955), Mistral Raymond ($90,183), Michael Mauti ($88,572), Shaun Prater ($87,668), Joe Berger ($85,296), Larry Dean ($80,242) and Matt Asiata ($77,988).
What becomes clear from seeing the numbers is that those players who got the biggest checks weren't those who got the biggest weekly paychecks, but deserved under the league formula to get more than what their contract called for. That's why Fusco got almost a quarter-million and Adrian Peterson got a little north of $7,000.
It also may help explain why the Vikings invested in Griffen – arguably the biggest name on the top end of the PPB pay list.
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.