When the Vikings started a wave of cost-cutting moves in March, the front office gave its first and most prominent release — tight end Kyle Rudolph — a designation that would save them additional money on the 2021 books, but not until Wednesday.
Rudolph was let go with a "post-June 1" designation, which means that while he was released and free to sign with another team (Rudolph signed with the Giants a couple weeks later), the Vikings wouldn't gain the cap space for cutting him until June 2.
As of Tuesday, the Vikings have about $6.1 million in space for this season, according to NFLPA records. That'll jump to roughly $14 million on Wednesday, thanks to the post-June 1 designation that boosted the team's immediate gain for cutting Rudolph from $5 million to $7.9 million.
Wednesday is an important financial date across the NFL, as any releases or trades done after June 1 allow teams to spread remaining prorated signing bonus charges over two years. Cuts or trades before Wednesday mean those prorated charges accelerate onto the current year.
By designating Rudolph a post-June 1 release, the Vikings pushed $2.9 million of their remaining commitments to him onto the 2022 salary cap. NFL rules allow teams two such designations every year.
Where's the money going? The Vikings still have four unsigned draft picks in third-round quarterback Kellen Mond, third-round linebacker Chazz Surratt, third-round guard Wyatt Davis, and third-round defensive end Patrick Jones II. They'll eat up some space.
General manager Rick Spielman said in May the team could also add a veteran free agent or two, and they recently hosted ex-Chiefs corner Bashaud Breeland in Eagan last month. The Vikings have three open spots on the 90-man offseason roster.
The team also has a handful of veterans due for new contracts, including two entering contract years in right tackle Brian O'Neill and safety Harrison Smith. Perhaps they may also consider redoing Danielle Hunter's contract, as he's working out on his own seven months removed from neck surgery and has outperformed a current deal that ranks him as the 17th-highest paid edge rusher in football.