Pro Football Focus (PFF) took a knife to all 32 teams recently. The site known for scientific stats and analysis, cut out players they believe will hit the NFL free agent market sooner rather than later. Here’s what they had to say about potential Minnesota Vikings roster cuts.
Predicted Minnesota Vikings Roster Cuts
Will the Vikings Cut Left Tackle Riley Reiff?
First up for the Minnesota Vikings is offensive tackle Riley Reiff. The 6-foot-6, 305-pound former first-round pick of the Detroit Lions earned a pass blocking grade of 74.9 in 2020. His overall score of 71.4 is also admirable. Reiff also tied for the league lead with sacks allowed, giving up just one last season.
Reiff has started in all 58 games during his Vikings tenure. However, he’s at the tail end of his monster contract. The Vikings had Reiff renegotiate his deal last offseason, but the monster tackle will still hit the Vikings cap for $17.45 million in 2021, if nothing changes.
Maybe Minnesota can renegotiate the deal (again), but with players like Laremy Tunsil making more than Riley in a tackle-hungry league, odds are he’d prefer to test the market.
If Minnesota parts ways with Reiff, they’ll clear $13.75 in cap space.
Will the Vikings Cut Tight End Kyle Rudolph?
Another staple in the Vikings offense who’s about to hammer the salary cap is Kyle Rudolph.
One might say the tight end is on the backside of his career, as he enters his 10th season in purple and gold. In 2020, PFF graded Rudolph at 66.5 overall, below the starter-caliber threshold of 70.0. In 2019, Rudolph earned a grade of 73.0 – but hasn’t seen higher than 74 since his second year in the league, 2012, when he graded out at 77.1.
For 2021, Rudolph brings great familiarity to the system and chemistry with his teammates, but a $9.45 million cap hit. If the Vikings move on from Rudolph, they’ll owe him nothing, clearing close to $10 mil in cap space. For a team that needs room to sign some free agents, that number is surely enticing.
According to Spotrac, the salary cap monitoring site, Minnesota is currently facing an $11,157,651 cap deficit. And, that’s based on a cap projection of $189 mil. With the recent announcement the cap floor for 2021 is $180 mil, the Vikings overage will likely grow larger once the final cap number is set by the league.
Granted, trading Kirk Cousins and Kyle Rudolph to the Houston Texans for Deshaun Watson would certainly free up some space quickly, odds are that won’t happen.
Vikings Currently have 8 Players Making Over $9 million Each
Cousins, Danielle Hunter, Reiff, Anthony Barr, Adam Thielen, Eric Kendricks, Harrison Smith and Rudolph currently count for $126.88 million of the Vikings cap. That’s eight players making over 70% of the team’s available salary. Something has to give.