Looking ahead to the offseason, these are the two worst contracts the Minnesota Vikings need to unload.
At 3-5 with a bunch of close losses and a schedule that’s not getting any easier, the Minnesota Vikings are headed for an offseason reset. Head coach Mike Zimmer is on the hot seat, and general manager Rick Spielman is not far behind him.
Looking ahead to the offseason, the Vikings are in the red against the salary cap right (according to Over The Cap). So they’ll have some work to do, and luckily they have one of the best cap guys around in long-time executive Rob Brzezinski. Through restrucures, extensions, etc. they’ll find a way to get compliant without necessarily gutting the roster.
But there are still bad contracts and big cap hits to take a look at, and get rid of if possible. One is easy to think of, and he/it may or may not make the cut here.
These are the two worst contracts the Vikings should get rid of in 2022.
Vikings Rumors: Two bad contracts that need to be dumped before 2022
2. Harrison Smith ($64M deal)
Even before a stint on the COVID-19 list that will cost him at least two games, including Sunday against the Chargers, Smith was not playing up to his previous form among the best safeties in the league this season.
Heading into the final year of his contract this year, the Vikings gave the 32-year old Smith a four-year, $64 million contract extension. Naturally, it’s structured in such a way that there are trigger dates for salary to be locked in for 2022 and 2023 with per game roster bonuses to further reduce the full guarantees. In 2023, the Vikings can get out of the deal with more cap space cleared then dead money absorbed.
Trading Smith feels like a possibility come the offseason, with only that one year of practical commitment in mind to spur interest. Whether a trade possibility should’ve been entertained last offseason is a separate conversation.
The Vikings would take on a little less than $7.7 million in dead money by cutting or trading Smith before June 1, 2022, with $5.8 million in cleared cap room. A post-June 1 cut shifts it to $11.55 million in cleared cap space, with just $1.9 million in dead money. The latter path is the easiest path to parting ways with Smith, as a designation to allow them to shift cap implications. But the Vikings could do him a favor based on his resume, and let him go when he has a better chance to find a new team while taking the bigger dead money hit.
1. Anthony Barr, LB ($67M deal)
After almost signing with the New York Jets, Barr got cold feet and the Vikings ponied up a five-year, $67.5 million deal to keep him. After missing all but two games last season due to a torn pectoral, a contract restructure saved him from being cut last offseason.
Zimmer consistently professes how important Barr is to the Vikings’ defense intangibly, in particular getting his teammates lined up properly. But overall consistency and splash plays have always been missing from him, and he’s set to miss his fifth game of the season on Sunday against the Chargers.
Barr’s contract restructure made 2022 and 2023 into voidable years. But that also dumps the entire dead cap hit onto 2022 if he’s cut or traded before June 1, 2022 ($9.89 million). Designating him a post-June 1 cut (or trading him after June 1) would reduce the dead cap hit by half.
One way or another, Barr should be playing his final games as a Viking over the rest of the season. Finding a way to move on will become even easier if Zimmer is no longer around to stump for keeping one of his guys.