The Vikings are right up against the salary cap at the moment, but there are some moves they could make to open up some much-needed breathing room. For example, Minnesota is likely to release CB Xavier Rhodes, and Andrew Krammer of the Star Tribune also names offensive linemen Riley Reiff and Pat Elflein as potential cap casualties.
Reiff remained at left tackle in 2019 despite some chatter that he could be moved inside to left guard. The Vikings instead elected to shift former center Elflein to LG after drafting Garrett Bradbury, and while Elflein did not perform poorly, he was not exactly a standout. But because of the league’s proven performance escalator, Elflein’s 2020 salary will increase from $960K to $2.147MM, so cutting the Ohio State product would save the Vikings about $2MM against the cap. Even if Minnesota hangs on to him, he could be relegated to a reserve role.
As for Reiff, the 31-year-old is due to earn a $10.9MM salary in 2020, but the Vikings would save nearly $9MM against the cap by releasing him, a huge amount for a club with Minnesota’s financial outlook. That would then allow the Vikings to select an offensive tackle in a draft that is deep at the position.
In addition to a potential O-line overhaul, the Vikings will also have a lot of work to do at cornerback. Rhodes will probably be cut and free agents Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander may not be re-signed, and head coach Mike Zimmer conceded that his team would need to address the position in the draft. Luckily for him, this year’s crop of collegiate CBs is also quite strong.
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