The Vikings could be faced with some interesting decisions when a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is complete and NFL business resumes.
John Clayton of ESPN reports the salary cap will return for 2011 after a one-year absence and likely will be $120 or $121 million but could be as low as $117 million. (The cap in 2009 was $127 million.) Clayton points out that if the cap is $120 million that approximately seven teams would be over that figure and that the Vikings would be one of them to the tune of $5.148 million.
The Vikings have one of the NFL's best salary-cap executives in vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski and the reality is that Brzezinski, vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman and coach Leslie Frazier likely already have decided how they would approach this issue.
Remember, however, the $5.148 million figure would be before the Vikings ever dipped their toe in free agency or made an attempt to retain likely free agent wide receiver Sidney Rice.
Clayton points out the Vikings could save around $3.7 million by releasing wide receiver Bernard Berrian. Then there is the matter of running back Adrian Peterson's contract. Peterson is entering the last year of his deal -- the 2012 season is included on his contract but will void -- and is due $10.72 million this year.
Peterson is going to want a new long-term deal and the Vikings are likely going to be willing to give him one since they could create cap room by doing so.
There will be other contracts and players to keep an eye on. Safety Madieu Williams is due $5.4 million in 2011, up from $2.97 million in 2010, and the Vikings could look to restructure his contract or even release him. Left guard Steve Hutchinson, due $6.68 million this season, also could be asked to restructure.
Frazier made it clear at the owners meetings last March that he had no intention of dumping Berrian or Williams but that was before the Vikings knew what the salary cap would be. Only time will tell if the team's thinking has changed.