When VU staffers saw the list in USA Today that placed Everett Lindsay as the second-highest cap figure on the team, it surely looked to be a mistake. After all, for a guy who had bounced around the league and wasn't a starter, why would he have a cap figure of $6.6 million instead of $600,000.
As it turns out, it was part of the Vikings strategy in preparing to work the salary cap and Lindsay wasn't alone.
Not only did Lindsay have $6.1 million alloted for what is termed "likely to be reached" incentives, but Fred Robbins had $4 million in similar types of impossible bonus scenarios in his contract as well.
What that accomplished was allowing the Vikings to roll over their missed incentive bonuses into the 2004 salary cap -- effectively giving the Vikings $90 million in cap room to play with instead of the $80 million the rest of the league has. The Vikings set an NFL record for having more than $33 million available under the salary cap when the free agent period began in March.
In the process, the Vikings were able to use the additional money to make Antoine Winfield's $11 million signing bonus a roster bonus that all counts against this year's salary cap -- a total almost equal to the amount of the unclaimed incentives for Robbins and Lindsay.
VU has also been told that the Vikings have used this same formula for other pending contracts and believe they will not only have plenty of cap room next year, but for several years to come if they so choose.
Hats off to Rob Brzezinski, Vikings vice president of football operations. After being hired as the team capologist when the team was strapped against the cap following the 1998 season, Brzezinski has successfully cleared the books of debt and has the Vikings sitting pretty vs. the cap for the forseeable future, which means if their is a free agent out there (like Winfield was this year) that the Vikings covet, they can make it happen.
Lindsay Cap Issue Explained
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