Skip to main content

With the NFL's salary cap set, what's the Vikings situation?

The Vikings will work with a $182.5 million cap this offseason.
Rick Spielman

The NFL informed teams on Wednesday that the salary cap for the 2021 season will be set at $182.5 million. While that number is not the $70-to-$80 million drop that was projected last August, it's still one that creates a challenge for the Minnesota Vikings.

After releasing Dan Bailey and Riley Reiff, the Vikings are $8.5 million under the salary cap according to Spotrac. That number is misleading, however, as Over The Cap estimates the Vikings will need $10.2 million to sign their 2021 draft class.

This leaves the Vikings to go looking through their roster to find ways they can manipulate the salary cap.

The contract of Anthony Barr is a potential target as he carries a cap hit of just over $15 million. While the Vikings could save $7.26 million by releasing Barr, that's an unlikely scenario with how much he's valued in the team's defensive scheme.

"[Barr] is really good at getting everybody lined up on the defense," Co-defensive coordinator Adam Zimmer said in an interview with the Vikings Entertainment Network. "He calls the huddle, he gets everybody set. He helps Kendricks immensely as far as setting the front, setting the pressure, and everything we do defensively."

KSTP's Darren Wolfson said on "The Scoop" podcast last month that Barr is unwilling to renegotiate his contract.

Harrison Smith is another candidate to have his deal restructured. With a $10.25 million cap hit and no guaranteed money on his deal, an extension with Smith could lower that number and allow him to finish his career in Minnesota.

Adam Thielen's deal is another area the Vikings, could re-arrange with a $13.4 million cap hit for next season. The Vikings could move some of Thielen's salary into a signing bonus in the same fashion that $8 million of Danielle Hunter's salary was converted last offseason.

Unless the Vikings make an unlikely trade, there's a good chance that several players could be released. Defensive tackle Shamar Stephen ($5.08 million cap hit) and Mike Hughes ($3.1 million) are two names to watch heading into next week's deadline.

With limited cap space, the Vikings figure to lean heavily on the draft. After selecting an NFL-record 16 players last season, the Vikings will enter the 2021 NFL Draft with 12 picks after receiving two compensatory selections on Tuesday.

With an additional fourth and sixth-round pick, the Vikings now hold four selections in the fourth round. That capital could be used for trading up, as the Vikings traded their second-round pick when they acquired Yannick Ngakoue or acquiring capital for the 2022 draft where Minnesota has eight selections.

Next Up

St. Louis County

St. Louis County set to declare state of emergency ahead of peak flood levels

Volunteers are urgently needed for sandbagging efforts in a small community near Voyageurs National Park.

Screen Shot 2022-05-16 at 5.03.30 PM

Brothers Bar & Grill closes in downtown Minneapolis

The Midwest chain closed its St. Cloud location in 2018.

Ken Jeong

Licensed physician Ken Jeong to do standup in MN this September

The licensed physician will take the stage at Treasure Island Resort and Casino on Sept. 30.

Osseo Police Department

Osseo PD says officer did not pursue suspect who caused fatal crash

The crash happened in Brooklyn Park early Sunday morning.

221 Main Street. E. Albert Lea

Suspect arrested after 3 family members stabbed in Albert Lea

The three victims are related, according to police.


Evidence that omicron strains BA.4 and BA.5 are in Minnesota

The European CDC has warned of a possible significant summer surge fueled by the omicron subvariants.

driving unsplash - crop

Hastings man charged for driving drunk with 2-year-old in vehicle

Matthew Quade's BAC was almost five times over the legal limit when police pulled him over last week.

police lights

Arrest made after person shot at Hopkins apartment building

Police say this was an isolated incident and that the victim and suspect knew each other.


BA.2.12.1 omicron subvariant quickly becoming dominant in MN

Experts say the subvariant is more transmissible but there is not evidence to suggest it causes more severe disease.


Riley Reiff

Vikings release offensive tackle Riley Reiff

Reiff's release saves the Vikings $13.7 million in cap room.


Offseason preview: How can the Vikings keep Anthony Harris?

The Vikings safety should be a top priority this offseason.

Kirk Cousins

5 questions for the Vikings' season opener at Cincinnati

The Vikings will look to start 2021 with a victory on Sunday.

Anthony Barr

5 takeaways from the Vikings preseason loss to the Colts

The Vikings looked better on Saturday but still have a ways to go.

DJ Wonnum

The Vikings' roster is a house of cards in danger of collapse

With roster cuts looming, the Vikings need to address their depth.

Xavier Rhodes

5 starting positions the Vikings will need to fill for 2020

With the Vikings pressed against the cap, change could be coming in Minnesota.

Kirk Cousins

The Vikings' offensive starters if the season started today

The Vikings preached continuity and that's what they have achieved.