Vikings Rumors

NFL Distributes Performance-Based Payouts

Since 2002, the NFL’s performance-based pay system has rewarded low-salary players who exceed their expected playing time. This year, due to the pandemic, the league and the players’ union negotiated a gradual payout schedule, one that will meter out the money between now and 2024.

All in all, the league divested $8.5MM per club. This year’s top earner is Buccaneers guard Alex Cappa, a 2018 third-round pick who played every single snap for the eventual champs. Cappa will now receive an extra $622K on top of his $750K base salary for 2021. Per the union’s records, 25 other players also topped $500K, including Cardinals tackle Kelvin Beachum ($604K), Bills cornerback Taron Johnson ($579K), Rams guard Austin Corbett ($573K), Lions cornerback Amani Oruwariye ($572K), Bears tackle Germain Ifedi ($571K), Steelers offensive lineman Chukwuma Okorafor ($568K), Vikings offensive lineman Dakota Dozier ($561K), Ravens safety DeShon Elliott ($557K) and Bucs safety Jordan Whitehead ($555K).

The full list, going team-by-team, can be found here, courtesy of the NFLPA.

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Vikings’ Jeff Gladney Facing Assault Charge

Vikings cornerback Jeff Gladney turned himself in to authorities on a felony family violence assault charge Monday in Dallas, CBS 11 News reports.

Gladney’s girlfriend alleges the 24-year-old corner struck her with closed fists during an argument, according to CBS 11. This incident occurred Friday outside a Dallas-area apartment complex.

While in a vehicle, Gladney became upset over text messages on his girlfriend’s phone and demanded to see the phone, according to the TV station, which adds that the woman threw the phone out the window. After Gladney stopped to retrieve it, he allegedly pressed the woman’s face toward the phone in order to unlock it. The accuser, 22, alleges Gladney punched her in her stomach, ribs and back. She also alleges that, once she and Gladney were back in an apartment complex, the Minnesota defender strangled her and dragged her across the ground, according to an arrest affidavit. Detectives documented bruises on the accuser.

A warrant went out for Gladney’s arrest April 2, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets. He turned himself in at 11:21 a.m. Monday. Gladney faces between two and 10 years in prison if convicted on this charge. While the TCU alum faces NFL discipline as well, his troubles stretch beyond that at this point.

The Vikings, who revamped their cornerback group last year, selected Gladney 31st overall and used him as a starter in 15 games last season. The 5-foot-10, 191-pound defender made 81 tackles and forced a fumble during his rookie season.

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North Notes: Clowney, Vaitai, Parks

Let’s round up a few notes from the North divisions:

  • For the second year in a row, Jadeveon Clowney is drawing interest from the Browns. Though Clowney’s recent visit to Cleveland did not result in a contract, Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com says the Browns still want to sign him if the price is right (and assuming the team is comfortable with his health). Clowney ultimately settled for a one-year, $13MM pact from the Titans last year after originally seeking a multi-year contract with an AAV of $20MM, and any deal he signs this year will likely be for much less than last year’s $13MM salary. But new Browns acquisition Malik Jackson believes Cleveland has what it takes to win the Super Bowl in 2021, and he suggested that Clowney should jump at the chance to sign up with the Browns. “If you want to hop on board, come hop on board,” Jackson said. “I understand the free agency market is not what he probably wants, but things are bigger than monetary value. You get a chance to be on a good team and set yourself up in the future.”
  • When the Lions signed Halapoulivaati Vaitai to a five-year, $50MM contract last offseason, most expected he would suit up at right tackle. He missed six games in 2020 due to injury, but he played five games at guard, four games at tackle, and he split time between the two positions in one other game. New head coach Dan Campbell says he currently plans to slot the TCU product at guard (via Tim Twentyman of the team’s official website). “[W]e’re a little intrigued about moving him inside to guard.” Campbell said. “That does intrigue us. We may as a starting point work there and see where we’re at.” Campbell should have a solid group to protect QB Jared Goff, with Taylor Decker at LT, Jonah Jackson at LG, Frank Ragnow at C, Vaitai at RG, and a deep OL draft to add a quality rookie at RT.
  • Before the Vikings signed former Cowboys safety Xavier Woods as part of their overhaul in the secondary, they tried to land Will Parks, as Darren Wolfson of KSTP tweets. Parks spent the first four years of his career in Denver before signing a one-year pact with the Eagles last offseason. He didn’t make it through the 2020 season with Philadelphia, as he was waived late in the season and was claimed by the Broncos (though the Vikings put in a claim as well). But according to Wolfson, Minnesota wanted to bring in Parks on a veteran minimum pact — which the club also tried with Woods — and Parks turned them down.

Minor NFL Transactions: 3/30/21

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Carolina Panthers

Green Bay Packers

Los Angeles Chargers

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

Tennessee Titans

Vikings Re-Sign OL Dakota Dozier

After being a backup during his first six seasons, Dakota Dozier broke through as a 16-game starter with the Vikings in 2020. The team has moved to extend the parties’ partnership.

Dozier agreed to terms on a one-year deal to stay with the Vikings, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. At worst, Dozier represents a depth piece for a Vikings line that moved on from Riley Reiff earlier this month. The Vikings announced the move, marking the sides’ third one-year contract agreement.

The Vikings signed Dozier in 2019 and used him as a spot starter that year. Last season, Dozier broke into Minnesota’s starting lineup in Week 1 and did not relinquish the left guard job all season. The Vikings waived Pat Elflein midway through the season, sticking with Dozier and then bringing Ezra Cleveland into the lineup at guard. Pro Football Focus did not view Dozier’s work in an especially positive light, slotting him 77th among qualified guards last season, but the Vikings now have four of their five O-line starters from 2020 under contract.

Reiff’s departure may mean Cleveland moves to left tackle, leaving a guard spot open. Dozier, 30 in April, would then have a clearer path to returning as a starter. Prior to joining the Vikings, the former fourth-round pick served as a Jets backup from 2014-18.

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Contract Details: Rhodes, Johnson, Abdullah, Roberts, Moreau

Let’s catch up on the latest batch of financial terms from recent free agent deals:

  • Colts CB Xavier Rhodes: One-year, $4.77MM. $3.75MM fully guaranteed salary, $1.02MM in per game active roster bonuses. $1.75MM in additional playing time, interception, and Pro Bowl incentives, via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). This was originally reported as a one-year, $6.5MM pact, but it looks like that’ll only be the case if he hits those incentives.
  • Titans CB Kevin Johnson: One-year, $2.25MM. $2MM guaranteed, with a $1MM salary and $1MM signing bonus. $250K in per game active roster bonuses, via Wilson on Twitter. We didn’t have any word on compensation initially, and it turns out Tennessee got the former first-rounder for a pretty reasonable price.
  • Vikings RB Ameer Abdullah: One-year, $990K. Non-guaranteed. Via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Twitter. Terms of the deal weren’t previously reported, but the Vikings got the former second-rounder back for a non-guaranteed vet minimum contract.
  • Dolphins LB Elandon Roberts: One-year, $1.995MM. $1.345MM salary, $650K signing bonus, plus $750K in incentives available, via Field Yates of ESPN on Twitter. We also didn’t have any terms for Roberts, and he ended up getting some decent money to return to Miami.
  • Falcons CB Fabian Moreau: One-year, $1.127MM. $987.5K guaranteed. $137.5K signing bonus, $990K salary ($850K guaranteed), via Wilson on Twitter. Finishing things up with one more cornerback we were missing terms on. Moreau, a part-time starter for Washington the past few years, got just above the minimum, although it’s almost entirely guaranteed at least.

Vikings To Sign S Xavier Woods

The Vikings continue to add to their secondary. This time, they’ve added former Cowboys safety Xavier Woods, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter). It will be a one-year deal worth $2.25MM.

Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets that the deal includes a $1.25MM base salary, a $500K signing bonus, and $500K in incentives, leading to a $1.75MM cap charge. Tomasson adds that the Vikings tried to get Woods on a minimum deal, but when the veteran rejected the offer, the organization made some moves to clear up money.

The 25-year-old had spent his entire career in Dallas, evolving from a little-known sixth-rounder into a consistent starter on defense. Woods started each of his 44 games for the Cowboys over the past three seasons,averaging more than 46 tackles, five passes defended, and more than one interception per season over that span. He also started a pair of playoff games for Dallas during the 2018 season.

Woods started each of his 15 games this past year, appearing in 89 percent of his team’s defensive snaps. However, the safety didn’t endear himself to Cowboys fans when he admitted that he didn’t play “full speed for 70 plays” following an October loss to the Browns, comments that proved to be the beginning of the end for Woods in Dallas.

The Vikings have been busy adding to their secondary this offseason, especially at cornerback. The team has added both Patrick Peterson and Mackensie Alexander to pair with Mike Hughes and 2020 draftees Jeff Gladney and Cameron Dantzler.

NFL Contract Details: Fuller, Ford, Barr, Pats

As free agency’s second wave continues, here are the latest contract details from around the league:

  • 49ers DE Dee Ford: Two years, $24MM. $11.6MM guaranteed, with $4.6MM of that sum due in 2022, David Lombardi and Matt Barrows of The Athletic note (subscription required). Ford’s 2021 guarantees ($7MM) include a $4MM base salary. Ford’s contract also includes a void year (2023).
  • Dolphins WR Will Fuller: One year, $10.63MM. Contract maxes out at $13.63MM, with $3MM available in performance-based incentives, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. Fuller will receive a $9.6MM signing bonus and is due a $990K base salary.
  • Vikings LB Anthony Barr: One year, fully guaranteed $9.4MM. $8.4MM signing bonus, $1MM base salary. Barr’s cap number will drop to $6.1MM. Contract includes $3MM in sack-based incentives and features two void years, per the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Ben Goessling (all Twitter links).
  • Patriots T Trent Brown: Fully guaranteed $6.5MM base salary, up to $2MM in per-game roster bonuses, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Contract can climb to $11MM based on the roster bonuses, $1MM for 90% playing time, $1MM for a Pro Bowl nod and $500K in weight incentives. Brown must stay under 380 pounds, Vic Tafur of The Athletic tweets.
  • Bills DE Mario Addison: $4.1MM base salary in 2021, $3.25MM of that is guaranteed, Matthew Fairburn of The Athletic tweets. Addison is also due a $1.9MM roster bonus. His contract will now void after 2021.
  • Colts T Sam Tevi: One year, $2.51MM. $1MM guaranteed, $1.5MM base salary. The deal also includes $1MM in playing-time incentives, Wilson tweets.

Vikings To Bring Back Mackensie Alexander

After a season in Cincinnati, Mackensie Alexander will return to the Twin Cities. The veteran cornerback agreed to terms with the Vikings on Friday night, according to his agent (Twitter link).

Alexander joined Trae Waynes in moving from the Vikings to the Bengals last year but will return to the team that drafted him in the 2016 second round. The Vikings made Alexander an offer during the legal tampering period; 10 days later, the slot corner committed to come back to Minnesota.

It’s a one-year deal worth the veteran minimum, Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com tweets, marking a considerable reduction from Alexander’s 2020 salary.

Although the Clemson product will wear a familiar uniform next season, he will mostly have new teammates in Minnesota’s secondary. Waynes is still under contract with the Bengals, who gave him a long-term deal while agreeing with Alexander on a one-year pact worth $4MM last March, and Xavier Rhodes will return to the Colts. The Vikings still have Mike Hughes, but their cornerback corps now features recent acquisition Patrick Peterson and 2020 draftees Jeff Gladney and Cameron Dantzler.

Following the Vikings’ defense falling to a Mike Zimmer-era low point, their coverage corps will feature more experience in 2021. Alexander, 27, worked as a nickel cog under Zimmer during his first Minnesota stint. Last season, Alexander started a career-high 13 games with the Bengals; Pro Football Focus graded the five-year vet as a middle-of-the-pack cornerback. He will be back in a familiar scheme next season.

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Cardinals Trade C Mason Cole To Vikings

The Cardinals have traded center Mason Cole to the Vikings, according to Mark Sanchez of ESPN (on Twitter). The news has also been confirmed by NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (Twitter links), who adds that Cole may be shifted to one of the guard spots.

In exchange for Cole, the Vikings will send a sixth-round pick to Arizona. It’ll be Minnesota’s compensatory pick at the end of the sixth round — the No. 223 overall choice.

Cole, a Michigan product, has appeared in 46 games with 32 starts for the Cardinals. The 2018 third-rounder was first-string 14 times last year, but the advanced metrics didn’t look fondly upon his work. Cole finished out with a 54.4 overall Pro Football Focus grade, ranking him 31st out of 36 qualified centers. After acquiring Rodney Hudson, the Cardinals were no longer in need of Cole’s services.

Cole is slated to make upwards of $2MM in 2021, the final season of his four-year rookie deal. That’s significantly cheaper than, say, Nick Easton, who doesn’t seem all that interested in a Vikings return.

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