Three seasons remained on Xavier Rhodes‘ five-year, $70.1MM contract. Instead, the Vikings will remove that deal from their books in an effort to create cap space.
Minnesota made its expected move Friday, cutting Rhodes, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. The Vikings, however, are also releasing defensive tackle Linval Joseph. The former enjoyed a seven-season Twin Cities tenure, while the latter spent six seasons in the middle of Minnesota’s defensive line.
These cuts will create over $18MM in cap space for the Vikings, who entered the day barely $1MM below the projected salary ceiling. This also marks a major shift for the Vikings, who spent years crafting extensions and adding to Mike Zimmer‘s veteran defense. But the team’s payroll, headlined by a fully guaranteed quarterback contract, became flooded with veteran contracts in recent years.
Rhodes’ play had declined considerably, although Joseph remained one of the league’s better interior defenders. The Vikings will need to fill holes at these spots, likely with cheaper and younger cogs. Minnesota has Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander as free agents as well, so the franchise that has drafted three first-round cornerbacks since 2013 will need to have a plan at this priority position.
Joseph, 31, and Rhodes, 29, were two of the best players at their respective positions as recently as 2017. Both made the 2016 and ’17 Pro Bowls, and Joseph graded as one of Pro Football Focus’ top players in both 2015 and ’17. They will head to free agency, with Joseph joining a strong defensive line group.
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