Following the signing of Kirk Cousins last year, some people believed that the Minnesota Vikings wouldn’t be able to sign their top players to new contracts.
On Tuesday, news came out that the Minnesota Vikings had figured out a way to sign 2019 first-round draft pick Garrett Bradbury to his rookie contract.
The announcement was a bit shocking for some, considering the Vikings entered the day with around $664,000 in cap space and Bradbury’s anticipated salary cap hit for 2019 is expected to be about $2.3 million.
But shortly after Minnesota signed this year’s top draft pick on Tuesday, it was also revealed that the team was able to restructure the current contract of linebacker Eric Kendricks. The Vikings converted half of Kendricks’ 2019 base salary into a signing bonus and it resulted in the team gaining an extra $1.72 million in cap space, which allowed them to sign Bradbury.
Should anyone really be surprised though with what Minnesota’s front office was able to get done on Tuesday? Led by their executive vice president of football operations, Rob Brzezinski, the Vikings have been salary cap sorcerers for a number of years now.
Time and time again, Minnesota figures out a way to sign their most talented players and also get these deals done before they become unaffordable.
After adding Cousins, the narrative for a bunch of people quickly shifted to the assumption that Minnesota would now have to let some of their most talented players walk out the door because they would no longer be able to afford them.
In the same offseason that the Vikings signed Cousins, they also had four of their top players entering the final years of their contracts in Anthony Barr, Danielle Hunter, Eric Kendricks, and Stefon Diggs.
The belief by some was that one or two of these four guys likely wouldn’t be able to receive an extension from Minnesota because of all the money they spent on the veteran quarterback.
So what did the Vikings do during the next few months after signing Cousins? Oh you know, they just went ahead and signed Diggs, Hunter, and Kendricks to lucrative, multi-year contract extensions.
Minds were blown and jaws were dropped.
Then came this most recent offseason, when Barr was expected to be given gigantic bags of money by another team in free agency. But what happened? Once again, Minnesota, with the help of Everson Griffen taking a pay cut, found a way to re-sign their talented linebacker to a new multi-year deal worth over $65 million.
Surely no one would underestimate the ability of the Vikings’ front office to keep their team’s core of top talent together while staying under the salary cap, right?
Well, after a few more roster moves Minnesota entered the 2019 NFL Draft with a very limited amount of cap space. So limited that some believed the Vikings were likely going to have to trade one of their top players in order to sign this year’s rookie class.
But guess what? Minnesota’s front office worked their salary cap wizardry again to get the team’s entire 2019 rookie class signed without having to part ways with one of the roster’s top assets. Bradbury’s signing on Tuesday ended up being the perfect little cherry on top.
Moving forward, the Vikings now just have to figure out how to free up a little more salary cap space to use when players get injured next season (spoiler alert sorry, football players are going to get injured).
But instead of doubting Minnesota’s front office and trying to figure out how exactly they may go about freeing up some extra money during the next few weeks, how about we just sit back for once and enjoy the magic show.