Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Vikings, NFL cap space projections continue to grow

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated: February 26, 2014 - 11:00 AM

There’s less than two weeks before free agency begins on March 11 and the estimated cap number could rise again.

Two weeks ago, it was projected at $126 million, which meant the Vikings would’ve been about $23 million under the cap. Last week, ESPN reported the number would rise to $132 million, increasing the Vikings’ cap space to about $30 million. That would be the seventh largest cap space in the NFL and just behind the Packers, who have about $34 million in cap space. The Raiders would lead the league with about $66 million in cap space.

Now Pro Football Talk reports that the league’s salary cap could be a "few million" higher than $132 million.

Vikings general manager Rick Spielman wants to build through the draft but the cap space will give the team a chance to either resign some of its free agents, like defensive end Everson Griffen, or add pieces that fit Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer's scheme on defense. The Vikings also have a need at left guard and a backup running back on offense.

The team could also lock up future free agents, most notably tight end Kyle Rudolph. He missed most of last season with a broken foot, but Spielman said at the NFL Combine that he wasn’t focusing on that position in the draft due to the talent at tight end on the roster. It’d be best if the Vikings lock up Rudolph now. If he remains healthy, Rudolph could have a monster season during a contract year under offensive coordinator Norv Turner.

Outside of Rudolph, here are the other 10 players on the roster signed through the end of next season: QB Christian Ponder, S Mistral Raymond, G Brandon Fusco, LS Cullen Loeffler, S Jamarca Sanford, LB Audie Cole, OT Mike Remmers, DT Chase Baker, RB Joe Banyard, TE Chase Ford.

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