Vikings looking at salary-cap decisions

Rick Spielman

The Vikings have been evaluating their salary-cap situation and could look to restructure or release a few players. GM Rick Spielman talked about the process, and we've got numbers for the Vikings, the league's high and low teams and individual players.

Faced with a desire to have his roster get younger and several aging players that have high salary-cap numbers, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman conceded there could be some changes.

The Vikings currently only have about $2.5 million in cap space, but restructurings, cap credits and other adjustments could come into play before they have to be in compliance with the estimated cap of $120.375 million at the start of the new league year on March 13.

Spielman said he believes the Vikings will be about in the middle of the NFL pack for cap space when free agency starts.

"There are a lot of teams that have a lot of cap room and then there are a few teams that are going to have to make some adjustments, but for the most part there are a lot of teams that are going to have a lot cap room to do some things coming up in free agency," Spielman said.

The Bengals, without even restructuring any contracts, already have about $29 million in cap space. Other teams will be forced to make some cuts, like the Carolina Panthers, who are about $12 million over the projected cap.

The Vikings could take a look at either restructuring a few deals or, as Spielman said, simply cut ties with some of them.

"We might not be interested in restructuring. We may be just ready to move on, too. So it's a wide variety," Spielman said.

Chief among the restructuring/release options are:

  • Guard Steve Hutchinson, who has a cap number of $7 million in the final year of his deal, with nearly all of that being saved against the cap if he is released.

  • Cornerback Cedric Griffin, who has a cap number of $4.65 million and would save at least $2.5 million against the 2012 cap if released.

  • Guard Anthony Herrera, who has a $3.583 million cap number but might save the Vikings only about $1.5 million in cap space.

  • Defensive tackle Kevin Williams, who has an $8.416 million cap number and a $7 million base salary in 2012 that would be saved.

    "I'm not going to talk about any of our guys. Nothing has been finalized. Like I said, we'll going through that process and we'll have everything finalized over the next week. But we probably won't make any determination or anything like that until right before free agency," Spielman said.

    "We're meeting with all the agents down here. We had a couple (Wednesday) night. I think we have six (Thursday). And we'll have another six or seven (Friday). So after we've gotten through all our meetings the past three weeks, we'll see where these agents are. … I think our core guys that we wanted to get done, we were already able to do that. With Chad (Greenway), with Adrian Peterson and with John Sullivan."

    Spielman is clearly keeping an eye on the future while trying to build up the current roster. He isn't only concerned with the team's cap number in the coming months or even in 2013, but he said he keeps an eye two or three years down the road, as well.

    "As you start planning and you go after a free agent – and if we specifically are looking at a free agent or two that you want to go spend big money on – is how is that going to affect you in (2013) and '14 and '15. You have to look down the road into the future. If you have another potential player that's going to be coming up in '13, are you going to be spending your money on that position in '12 and not be able to sign your player back in '13? So those are the things I think you definitely have to weigh when you make those decisions."

    Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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