The 2021 NFL draft was thinner than in previous years thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic that truncated college seasons and led some players to stay in school. The Vikings reacted accordingly, going without a seventh-round pick a year after they set a modern-era NFL record by drafting 15 players.
Their approach in rookie free agency also was more measured this year than in 2020.
A year after they'd issued $473,300 in salary guarantees to their 12 undrafted free agents, the Vikings pulled back in 2021, giving $345,000 in guaranteed money to their 11-player class, according to sources with access to NFL Players Association salary data.
The sum is more in line with what the Vikings spent in 2019 ($347,000) and 2018 ($316,000), following a 2020 splurge to sign players they thought could contribute without the spring practices that had been canceled by the pandemic.
This year, the Vikings gave all their guaranteed money to seven players, negotiating six-figure guarantees with two players just as they did in 2020. East Carolina receiver Blake Proehl led the group with a $115,000 guarantee, getting a $15,000 signing bonus and $100,000 of his 2021 base salary. The team also gave a total of $110,000 in guaranteed money to Idaho linebacker Christian Elliss, who got a $35,000 signing bonus (the largest in the group) as well as $75,000 in base guarantees.
Here is the full list of the Vikings' guaranteed money for their 2021 undrafted free agents:
Blake Proehl, WR, East Carolina: $115,000 ($15,000 signing bonus, $100,000 base salary guaranteed)
Christian Elliss, LB, Idaho: $110,000 ($35,000 signing bonus, $75,000 base salary guaranteed)
Whop Philyor, WR, Indiana: $40,000 ($10,000 signing bonus, $30,000 base salary guaranteed)
A.J. Rose, RB, Kentucky: $35,000 ($15,000 signing bonus, $20,000 base salary guaranteed)
Zee Johnson, DT, California: $20,000 ($10,000 signing bonus, $10,000 base salary guaranteed)
Riley Patterson, K, Memphis: $20,000 ($5,000 signing bonus, $15,000 base salary guaranteed)
Myron Mitchell, WR, Alabama: $5,000 ($5,000 signing bonus, $0 base salary guaranteed)
Turner Bernard, LS, San Diego State: $0 guaranteed
Tuf Borland, LB, Ohio State: $0 guaranteed
Jordon Scott, DT, Oregon: $0 guaranteed
Zach Von Rosenberg, P, LSU: $0 guaranteed