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Minnesota Vikings post open for business sign as NFL trade rumors heat up

Vincent Frank

The Minnesota Vikings find themselves in a less-than-stellar salary cap situation with NFL free agency set to open up in less than a week.

Minnesota is currently $14.53 million over the cap. Quarterback Kirk Cousins‘ $45 million cap hit is a major dark cloud hanging over this organization as new general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah attempts to navigate the financial component of his job.

It’s now leading to increased speculation that the Minnesota Vikings could go into fire sale mode on the NFL trade market.

According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, several executives around the NFL expect the Vikings to make multiple trades between now and the start of the new league year March 16.

“The sense among some of the execs I spoke to is that the Vikings seem to understand that they aren’t in position by and large to hit home runs with these trades (which are more like salary cap dumps). Receiver Adam Thielen, linebacker Eric Kendricks, defensive tackle Michael Pierce, even running back Dalvin Cook are names making the rounds. I’d be surprised if a few were not moved.”

CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora on Minnesota Vikings

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Cousins currently boasts the third-highest cap number ($45 million) among NFL quarterbacks for next season. It’s one of the reasons Adofo-Mensah is scrambling to get under the cap. Hence, why multiple veterans could be traded on the cheap.

For his part, Cousins is refusing to take a pay cut. That limits Minnesota’s options when it comes to trading the quarterback. Signing an extension would likely lower his cap number, but it’s not known whether the Vikings’ new brass wants to commit to him long-term. Remember, Adofo-Mensah and new head coach Kevin O’Connell do not have a built-in relationship with Cousins.

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Of the group mentioned above, it’s reasonable to believe Adam Thielen would have the most interest. While he’s coming off a somewhat down 2021 season, the 31-year-old veteran is as consistent as they come. In fact, Thielen has caught a resounding 70% of his 404 targets over the past four seasons.

If Minnesota were to move Thielen, it would save a mere $5.83 million against the cap with a dead cap hit of $11.1 million. That’s the desperate situation Minnesota finds itself in.

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As for Dalvin Cook, any team would love to bring him aboard if all things were equal. Unfortunately, the Pro Bowl back is playing under a five-year, $63 million contract. That will be an issue for interested teams moving forward.

From a financial perspective, it would make the most sense for the Minnesota Vikings to trade Pro Bowl linebacker Eric Kendricks. Said move would save roughly $7.5 million against the cap.

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