With the trade of Percy Harvin and the release of Michael Jenkins and Antoine Winfield, the Vikings potentially have north of $23 million in cap space prior to the re-signing of Phil Loadholt.
The sizable cap space doesn’t necessarily mean the team will be spending big money in free agency.
When asked about the team’s cap space in a press conference Tuesday, general manager Rick Spielman quickly answered: “Cap space is deceiving.”
Cap guru Rob Brzezinski, VP of football operations, manages the salary cap in a unique but successful way. Brzezinski is considered one of the best in the NFL, consistently keeping the Vikings under the salary cap and proactively negotiating player contracts.
Minnesota has a tendency to sign players to front-loaded contracts, making the salary cap manageable in future years. For example, tight end John Carlson was a high $7.9 million cap hit last season. Unfortunately Carlson hasn’t worked out well for the team thus far, but that is besides the point. Loadholt will likely account for a front-loaded cap hit as well, drastically shrinking the team’s potential $20+ million cap space.
Spielman and Brzezinski’s method of managing salary cap space may not be popular with Vikings fans, but it is a formula that will work with Spielman’s philosophy is building through the draft and retaining own free agents.