Vikings cap crunch could get worse because of pandemic

A report suggests the NFL salary cap could shrink by as much as $80 million next season.
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Rick Spielman

Over the past couple of seasons, the Vikings have been masters at manipulating the NFL salary cap. But if a report by ESPN's Adam Schefter proves true, their luck might run out next season thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking on his podcast, Schefter suggested that the league's salary cap could shrink somewhere between $70 to $80 million in 2021. The main cause could be a spectatorless 2020 season in which the NFL could lose up to $3.2 billion in revenue.

"If there is $3.2 billion in less revenue, which is a rough number... but well within the range that is expected and as other people pointed out there are other financial losses as well, we are looking, potentially, at the salary cap dropping in 2021 by $70 to $80 million.” Schefter explained.

The possibility of this dramatic shift was something General Manager Rick Spielman addressed while speaking on the PFT PM podcast with Mike Florio last week.

"We don't know where everything is going to be when that time comes. I don't know where the salary cap will be if all the revenue cap doesn't come in. You try to do your best, you try to understand what potentially could happen," Spielman said. 

"Part of this job is being flexible and being able to adjust and move and come up with different ways to look at things especially when you can't control the adversity that may be ahead."

The projected number by Schefter would be a nightmare for the Vikings, who are currently estimated to be about $29 million under the 2021 cap, according to Spotrac.

While they made some cost-cutting moves this past offseason, there would be some serious financial gymnastics to get back under that number with Kirk Cousins generating a $31 million cap hit in 2021. In addition, it wouldn't be shocking if the Vikings' contract negotiations with Dalvin Cook and Anthony Harris hit snags because of this development.

There is a chance that the NFL could step in and grant protections for teams considering just seven teams are projected to have more than $80 million in cap space next year. However, there's no mention of that in Schefter's report and if the NFL does go on without fans or have a shortened season, things could get interesting heading into next year.

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