The Rich Get Richer

The Vikings expected to be more than $20 million under the 2004 salary cap when free agency begins March 3. Now they can make that $22 million.

The NFL adjusts its salary cap each year to represent 64 percent of the gross revenues of the league. When it was instituted a decade ago, it was half of what it is now and there is no sign of it slowing down.

Almost like declaring a dividend for its teams, the NFL announced this week that its original projection of a 2004 salary cap of $78.7 million was too conservative. The number has now been bumped up to $80.5 million -- an increase of more than $3 million from the 2003 cap.

For teams struggling to get under the cap by March 1, the extra $2 million is a godsend. For teams like the Vikings, it's just more money on the pile, which should help make this year's free agency period even more exciting, since the 32 NFL teams will now have an extra $60 million to spend.

* One of the players the Vikings spent some time talking with Friday at the Combine was tight end Ben Troupe -- which could be another sign that the team is preparing to move on without Jim Kleinsasser.
* The Browns won a coin toss with the Falcons Friday over which team gets the higher draft choice in the first round of April's draft. The Browns will pick seventh and the Falcons will pick eighth.

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