As the Minnesota Vikings try to trim salary cap dollars for 2022, here are three players they could surprisingly cut this offseason.
Such is life when your quarterback has a $45 million cap hit. The Minnesota Vikings are currently (according to Over The Cap) about $16 million over the salary cap right now. Contract extensions, restructures or even trades could get them in compliance rather quickly, and new general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has to survey all options.
If Kirk Cousins is signed to a contract extension, he clearly won’t be doing the Vikings that much of a favor. His $45 million cap hit for 2022 will be in line to drop though, and that would drive the move from the team’s end.
So the Vikings have some difficult decisions to consider, which may include breaking up the core of the team under former head coach Mike Zimmer.
On that note, here are three surprise cuts the Vikings could make this offseason.
3 surprise cuts the Minnesota Vikings can make this offseason
3. WR Adam Thielen
Vikings fans will throw their gael horns at me for this one, since Thielen is “one of us” (from Detroit Lakes, MN) and still a productive player in a certain light (10 touchdowns in 2021). But his yards per catch is in decline, to below 11.0 last season, and he has missed at least four games in two of the last three seasons. He also has three years left on his contract, and he’ll turn 32 before the 2022 season starts.
Cutting Thielen before June 1 leaves behind $11.1 million of his $16.945 million cap hit in dead money. A post-June 1 designation cut shifts it to $12.64 million in cap savings.
If Thielen is not a Viking for much longer, a trade to send him elsewhere seems more likely. But an outright cut shouldn’t be ignored as an option.