After a disappointing 2020 campaign in which the Minnesota Vikings finished 7-9 and missed the postseason, changes are coming. And coming quick.
Who might be returning to the 2021 edition of the team and which players will Vikings fans bid adieu?
We take a look at every player on the roster and their contract status — i.e. how much it would cost to cut them, if they are a free agent and what kind (unrestricted, restricted, exclusive rights) or if the player is simply signed to a futures deal.
Who do you think should stay or go on the offensive side of the ball? Well, at the end of the article you can cast your vote for each player’s fate (presented in the order they are listed below).
All contract and salary information courtesy OverTheCap.com.
Zack Bailey: An undrafted free agent out of South Carolina in 2019, Bailey spent the first eight weeks of the 2020 campaign on Tampa Bay’s practice squad before hopping on Minnesota’s practice squad. He played left guard, right tackle and center in college. Salary situation: Signed to a reserve/future contract. Our take: A young, versatile lineman? Count us in. Stay
Cheap Garrett Bradbury Jersey: The highest-drafted center in Vikings history (No. 18 overall in 2019) started all 16 games in 2020, paving the way for Cheap Dalvin Cook Jersey career year. Salary situation: He’s got two years left (plus the 2023 team option) on his rookie deal with $5.7 million in dead money if he’s cut after June 1. Our take: On an unsteady offensive line, Bradbury remains the center of the future. Stay
Cheap Blake Brandel Jersey: A 2020 sixth-round pick by Minnesota, the former Oregon State tackle spent the season on the practice squad. Salary situation: Signed to a reserve/future contract. Our take: With the ability to play both tackle positions, the Vikings have a few years to figure out what Brandel can do. Stay
Cheap Ezra Cleveland Jersey: The Vikings used a second-round pick (No. 58) on Cleveland in the 2020 draft, and so far, he looks the part. Cleveland, drafted as a tackle, debuted in Week 6 against Atlanta at right guard and played 100% of the Vikings’ offensive snaps there the rest of the season. Salary situation: Three years remain on his rookie deal. Our take: Cleveland already can play at a high level at guard. Now let’s see what he can do at his natural position. Stay
Cheap Dakota Dozier Jersey: Dozier played 100% of the offensive snaps at left guard in 2020, despite constantly being picked out as the weakest link of the line. Salary situation: Unrestricted free agent. Our take: Let’s hope the Vikings upgrade at left guard. Go
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Cheap Rashod Hill Jersey: Spending the last five seasons in Minnesota, Hill has appeared in 59 games, making 17 starts (one in 2020). Salary situation: Unrestricted free agent. Our take: There might be big changes on the offensive line this offseason. Why not keep one consistent and bring Hill back? Stay
Cheap Kyle Hinton Jersey: A surprise seventh-round pick by Minnesota out of Division II Washburn, Hinton spent the season on the practice squad before being activated for the season finale in Detroit. He did not play. Salary situation: Becomes an exclusive-rights free agent after 2021 season. No dead cap money if cut. Our take: You don’t select a DII guard in the seventh round just to cut him after Year 1. Stay
Cheap Brett Jones Jersey: Jones played 15 games for Minnesota and spent most of the time on special teams, although he did make starts at right guard in Week 11 and Week 12. Salary situation: Unrestricted free agent. Our take: With all the young offensive linemen in the organization, it might be time to say farewell. Go
Brian O’Neill: Perhaps general manager Rick Spielman’s best find on the O-line in any of his drafts, O’Neill started all 16 games at right tackle. Salary situation: O’Neill has one more year left on his deal. Our take: Stay. Obviously. Is there an extension in store this offseason? Stay
Cheap Riley Reiff Jersey: Expected to be cut before the 2020 season, Reiff stayed in Minnesota on a restructured contract. He started 15 games at left tackle. Salary situation: Reiff has one more year on his deal worth $13.9 million. If cut, the Vikings would take on $2.2 million in dead money but save $11.8 million in cap space. Our take: Reiff was solid for Minnesota in 2020, but the Vikings need to make financial room somewhere. Go
Cheap Dru Samia Jersey: Samia started four games at guard in 2020. It did not go well. At all. Salary situation: Two years remaining on his rookie deal. If cut before June 1, the Vikings will save $665k in cap space. If cut after June 1, Minnesota will save $850,000. Our take: For the sake of Cheap Kirk Cousins Jersey, he should probably go. Go
Cheap Oli Udoh Jersey: Udoh played a whopping four offensive snaps over three games in 2020. Salary situation: He’ll become an unrestricted free agent after the 2022 campaign. Our take: With the Vikings struggles on the line, it’s a head-scratcher to why Udoh didn’t get much of a chance to play. Stay
Cheap Jake Browning Jersey: Browning has spent the last two seasons on the Vikings practice squad. Salary situation: Signed to a reserve/future contract. Our take: Could he compete for the backup role next year? Stay
Kirk Cousins: Cousins struggled early in 2020, throwing 10 interceptions over the team’s first six games. But he settled down after that and logged a 113.6 passer rating over the final 10 contests. Salary situation: Cousins has two seasons left on his contract. He’ll count $31 million towards the cap in 2021. If the Vikings cut Cousins, they’d eat all $31 million in dead cap space (and $41 million if cut before June 1). Translation? It’s not happening. For those firmly on the anti-Cousins bandwagon, Minnesota could save $21 million in cap space by trading Cousins after June 1. Our take: Look, Minnesota isn’t trading for Deshaun Watson. Cousins will be back. Stay
Cheap Sean Mannion Jersey: The 28-year-old didn’t see a single snap on the field in 2020. Salary situation: Unrestricted free agent. Our take: It might be time to give a younger player a chance to become the backup. Go
Cheap Nate Stanley Jersey: A seventh-round selection in 2020, the former Iowa quarterback spent the season on the practice squad. Salary situation: Signed to a reserve/future contract. Our take: Stanley, like all 2020 rookies, was robbed of a preseason to showcase his talent. Let’s see what he can do next fall. Stay
Cheap Ameer Abdullah Jersey: Abdullah logged 100 total yards and two touchdowns on 16 touches in 2020. He also returned 15 kickoffs for 352 yards (23.5 average). Salary situation: Unrestricted free agent. Our take: Minnesota should try to bring in a more explosive kick returner next year. Go
Cheap Jake Bargas Jersey: A tight end in college, Bargas transitioned to fullback as a pro after signing as an undrafted free agent in May. Bargas played seven offensive snaps in Week 16 against New Orleans when C.J. Ham was inactive. Salary situation: Signed to a reserve/future contract. Our take: You can’t have a better mentor at fullback than Ham. Stay
Mike Boone: Boone rushed 11 times for 59 yards (5.4 average) and a touchdown in 2020. He’s logged 71 carries for 379 yards over his three-year career. Salary situation: Restricted free agent. Our take: You can find a Cheap Mike Boone Jersey late in the 2021 draft … or even among undrafted free agents. Go
Dalvin Cook: After signing a contract extension before the season, Cook tallied a career-best 1,557 rushing yards, which ranked second in the NFL. Salary situation: Five years remaining on his contract extension. If cut before June 1, the Vikings would suffer $12.4 million in dead money. Our take: Cook is proving those “never pay RBs” folks wrong. At times, he’s the entire Vikings offense. Stay
Cheap C.J. Ham Jersey: Cook wouldn’t have put up those big numbers without Ham paving the way. Plus, he logged 115 total yards on 13 touches (eight catches, five rushes). Salary situation: Three years remaining on his deal and a $2.25 million penalty if cut before June 1. Our take: Ham will make $3 million next season. He’s worth every penny. Stay
Cheap Alexander Mattison Jersey: In his second NFL season, Mattison rushed 96 times for 434 yards and two scores for the Vikings in 2020. He earned two starts when Cook was out. Salary situation: Two years remaining on his rookie deal. He’ll earn $1.1 million next season. Our take: Mattison isn’t a game-changing back, but he’s a nice sidekick for Cook. Stay
Cheap Dan Bailey Jersey: Bailey set career lows by nailing just 68.2% of his field-goal attempts and 86% of his extra-point attempts. In a two-week span late in the season, Bailey went 1-for-4 on extra-point attempts and 2-for-6 on field-goal attempts against Jacksonville and Tampa Bay. Oof. Salary situation: Two years left on his contract. If he’s cut after June 1, the Vikings would save $2.8 million towards the cap and face $1.1M in dead money. Our take: It might be time to find a new kicker’s career to ruin. Go
Taylor Bertolet: Minnesota signed Bertolet to its practice squad Dec. 19. He has yet to attempt a kick in the NFL. Salary situation: Bertolet’s contract with the Vikings expired, making him a free agent. Our take: On to the next one. Go
Cheap Britton Colquitt Jersey: Among punters with 40+ attempts last season, Colquitt ranked 20th with an average of 45.1 yards per punt. He ranked 31st with a mere 11 punts downed inside the 20-yard line, doing so at a 20.4% clip, which was even worse at 34th. Translation? He wasn’t good. Salary situation: Two years left on his deal. Colquitt is due $3.2 million next season with $1.4 million in dead cap if cut before June 1, $717K if cut afterwards. Our take: It’s possible that we’ll see a new kicker and punter in town for Ryan Ficken, who was promoted to special teams coordinator. Go
Andrew DePaola: Minnesota spent a seventh-round pick on Cheap Austin Cutting Jersey in 2019, only to put him on waivers Dec. 1. DePaola played the final seven contests. Salary situation: One year remaining on his deal. He’s due $990K next season. Our take: Sure, he can stay. Stay
Cheap Tyler Conklin Jersey: Primarily used as a blocking tight end over the first two seasons of his career, Conklin got involved in the air attack in 2020, catching 19 passes for 194 yards and a score — and all of that production occurring after Week 9. Salary situation: Conklin is due $990K for next season. He’ll become a free agent after 2021. Our take: Yep, he should be back. And it might be time to talk contract extension. Stay
Cheap Brandon Dillon Jersey: In his second NFL season, Dillon played 12 offensive snaps for Minnesota in 2021 and caught one pass for six yards. Salary situation: Signed to a reserve/future contract. Our take: At 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, it can’t hurt to bring Dillon back. Stay
Hale Hentges: Former Washington and Indianapolis tight end Hentges was signed by the Vikings on Dec. 10. He played all of seven special teams snaps in the season finale vs. Detroit. Salary situation: Restricted free agent. Our take: Hentges had his cup of coffee with the Vikings, and that might be it. Go
Cheap Irv Smith Jr. Jersey: The second-round pick hauled in 30 catches for a career-high 365 yards and five touchdowns in 13 contests, ranking third on the team in the latter two categories. Salary situation: Two years to go on his rookie contract. Our take: Is 2021 the year Smith sees a TE1 workload? Stay
Cheap Kyle Rudolph Jersey: Rudolph played 12 contests in 2020, the first time he’s missed time since 2014. Rudolph finished with 28 catches for 334 yards and one score. Salary situation: There are three years remaining on his contract extension he signed in 2019. He’s due $9.4 million next season, which is 5.2% of the cap number. If cut before June 1, the Vikings will suffer $4.4 million in dead money but will save $5 million in cap space. Our take: Here we are again. Rudolph has often been rumored to be on his way out, but this could actually be the offseason it happens. The Vikings are too cap-strapped. Go
Cheap Chad Beebe Jersey: The 2018 undrafted free-agent signee set career bests with 20 catches, 201 receiving yards and two scores in 2020. He never could get much momentum in the punt return game, averaging 4.7 yards per attempt with two fumbles (one lost). Salary situation: Restricted free agent. Our take: The Vikings might want to find a legitimate No. 3 receiver behind Cheap Justin Jefferson Jersey and Cheap Adam Thielen Jersey. Go
Cheap Dan Chisena Jersey: A surprise signing after the draft by Minnesota (we detailed his unlikely journey to the NFL here), Chisena played 259 snaps on special teams and logged six tackles and one fumble recovery. His blazing speed was put on display as a gunner on the punt team, but he never made a game-changing play. Salary situation: Under contract for the next two seasons and will earn $783K in 2021. It’ll only cost the Vikings $6K in dead money if he’s cut before June 1. Our take: He constantly was the first player down the field on punts. Might as well give him more time to grow. Stay
Justin Jefferson: The 22nd overall pick was the Vikings’ brightest spot in 2020. Jefferson set the Super Bowl era rookie record with 1,400 receiving yards to go along with 88 catches and seven touchdowns. In a deep 2020 WR class, he looks like the cream of the crop. Salary situation: Signed for the next three seasons (plus a team option for 2024). Our take: We can’t wait to watch what’s next. Stay
Cheap Bisi Johnson Jersey: Johnson started the season as the Vikings’ No. 2 receiver before taking a back seat to Jefferson after two games. He logged 14 catches for 189 yards. Salary situation: He’ll be an unrestricted free agent in 2023. If cut before June 1, the Vikings will face a mere $37K in dead money. Our take: The Vikings don’t have much depth at the position behind Jefferson and Thielen. Johnson is cheap, so therefore probably will return. Stay
Cheap K.J. Osborn Jersey: A fifth-round pick in 2020, Osborn didn’t play a single offensive snap but he returned 14 kicks for 303 yards (21.6 average) and seven punts for 27 yards (3.9 average). Osborn fumbled on two punt returns, losing the football once. Salary situation: Three years remain on his contract. He’ll be paid $846K next season. If cut before June 1, the Vikings would save $646K in cap space. Our take: Osborn didn’t inspire anyone in the return game. Will the Vikings really trust him in Year II? Go
Adam Thielen: In 15 games, Thielen caught 74 passes for 925 yards and ranked third in the NFL with 14 receiving touchdowns. Salary situation: Signed for the next four seasons. It’d cost the Vikings $5.4 million to cut him before June 1. Our take: We can’t wait for another season of Thielen & Jefferson.