Signing and re-signing players really adds up. The Minnesota Vikings can attest to that, after it was reported the team is now only $5 million below the salary cap as we sit three weeks into free agency.
Now, it makes a little more sense why the Vikings cut Antoine Winfield, instead of paying him $7 million this year. Wide receiver was the priority in free agency, and Rick Spielman came through in a big way with Greg Jennings. But $47.5 million later, the team now sits in its current state – lacking funds.
At least Minnesota inked a big-name wide out, while locking up some of its key in-house free agents at the same time. It’s not like the money wasn’t well spent. Some will say the team overpaid for Jennings, but that’s debatable at best. Everyone they paid, they paid with good reason.
But does the small amount of remaining cap space really change the team’s ultimate plan? No. The plan all along has been to build with youth from the draft, so the lack of funds will only intensify that process. As Spielman recently said, it’s time to go to work in the draft.
With two first round picks, this task is much easier than it normally would be. Typically, we’d be talking about whether the team should go with one position over another, but now it’s ‘what two positions’ should the team target? Scenario two is a much better problem to have.
I still think the Vikings need one or two receivers from the draft, and maybe even another value signing in free agency. In addition, there’s still a hole at middle linebacker, and the team needs depth at cornerback and defensive tackle. There’s no doubt work to be done.
The lack of funds will hurt the chances of signing Brian Urlacher, and of re-signing Winfield, but it could ultimately be a good thing down the road.
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