Vikings Cap Number Jumps Up

Thanks to working the numbers on several contracts for veteran players, the Vikings cap number is going to jump from $15-17 million to $30 million by the time the clock strikes midnight on the morning of Feb. 29.

Sometimes you can't believe everything you read.

There have been published reports that the Vikings are somewhere between $15-17 million under the 2008 salary cap, but in reality, you can nearly double that amount by the time free agency begins midnight Friday night.

Thanks to creative bookkeeping that includes several contract provisions for bonuses that aren't going to be met, such as bonuses for players like Pat Williams to have a specific number of special teams tackles (Big Pat doesn't play on special teams), the Vikings will have approximately $30 million to spend under the $116 million salary cap.

Last year, believing the free agent talent and the big spike in the salary cap would force teams to overspend, the Vikings didn't make much of a splash – signing WR Bobby Wade, TE Visanthe Shiancoe, LB Vinny Ciurciu and safety Mike Doss. The only player the Vikings made a big play for was wide receiver Kevin Curtis, who ended up signing with the Eagles.

This year may be different. With the belief that the Vikings are only a key player or two away from being a legitimate playoff contender, the belief from Vice President of Player Personnel Rick Spielman is that the Vikings may well go after a blue-chip free agent or two if the money is right and the players are viewed as good fits in the Vikings' system.

With a deeper talent pool in free agency this year, the Vikings may have been wise getting out of the bidding wars last year. With plenty of many to spend and holes that need filling, the Vikings could be a big-time player in free agency this ‘go-round.

* In an update on Kenechi Udeze from Brad Childress at the Scouting Combine, he said that Udeze has begun chemotherapy and remains upbeat that he can beat the leukemia he has been diagnosed with and resume his playing career at some point.
* Wide receiver Terrance Copper came off the free-agent board after signing a two-year, $2.75 million deal to stay with the Saints.
* In an update to an earlier story about Troy Williamson and his agent being allowed to shop the wide receiver to other teams, David Canter, Williamson's agent, said that eight to 10 teams have already expressed an interest in Williamson.
* Jets linebacker Jonathan Vilma has been given permission to seek a trade. Vilma, a talented former first-rounder, hasn't been an ideal fit in Eric Mangini's 3-4 defense, which has made him expendable.
* Rex Grossman came off the free agent market Saturday by signing a one-year deal to stay with the Bears in 2008 and take his chances on earning a long-term deal or becoming a free agent in 2009.
* After being courted by several teams, Zach Thomas signed a deal with the Cowboys that appear to be at or near the bottom of what he could have earned – getting a $1 million signing bonus, a $1 million base salary and the chance to earn up to $1 million in incentives.
* The contract numbers on Michael Bennett's new deal with the Bucs are out. He signed a three-year deal that included a $750,000 signing bonus and base salaries of $750,000, $1 million and $1.25 million.
* The Eagles are apparently set to release DE Jevon Kearse, a player everybody except Denny Green wanted the Vikings to take in the 1999 draft instead of Daunte Culpepper. Green took his ground and took Culpepper, letting the Freak try his hand with the Titans.

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