An Amazing Financial Fact Illustrating Spielman’s Brilliance

Lately, Minnesota Vikings fans have been very happy with Rick Spielman.

It’s pretty easy to see why. The offense is in a great position to once again be among the league’s best. The defense looks to be fully reloaded after several shrewd signings. Even without Danielle Hunter, Zim’s defense was likely going to be great. Getting Hunter back into the purple fold, though, gives us a legit shot at being elite. True, some (i.e. myself) may still be worried about the special teams, but there is still an overall sense of optimism.

Earlier today, I published a piece discussing the hope surrounding Christian Darrisaw. While working on that post, I came across a pretty astonishing financial fact.

Stick with me on this one.

If we had kept Riley Reiff, there would have been a cap charge of nearly $14 million. The Vikings, of course, ended up cutting Reiff. He left behind $3.2 million in dead money. The Vikings went on to draft Darrisaw as Reiff’s replacement, a move that will cost them nearly $2.5 million in cap space this year. In other words, the Vikings saved more than $8 million by moving on from Reiff and subsequently drafting Darrisaw, even after factoring in the dead money.

What have they done with that $8 million? Glad you asked.

Let’s illustrate just how far that money can go by discussing the various free agents Minnesota signed. Patrick Peterson – who fans should be optimistic about – costs $8 million. In other words, the Reiff cut allowed Minnesota to add Darrisaw and Peterson. Not bad, but we can do better.

Dalvin Tomlinson has a $6 million cap hit. Partner that with the Xavier Woods deal at just over $1.7 million and you can see how this spirals into multiple impact players. Reiff was cut for Darrisaw, Tomlinson, and Woods. That’s pretty good.

Another way to understand it rests in the above tweet. That $8 million was enough to bring in Bashaud Breeland, Sheldon Richardson, Mackensie Alexander (so underrated), and Woods. So for the same amount of money, Minnesota could have either had Riley Reiff or Darrisaw, Breeland, Richardson, Alexander, and Woods. We can all see what the better move is.

Even the most jaded Minnesota Vikings fans ought to be impressed with how Rick Spielman has danced around the salary cap. Indeed, his slickness has allowed Minnesota to continue adding high-end young talent to the o-line while also rebuilding the defense.

Keep in mind that Minnesota, per Over the Cap, still has more than $10 million available to them. The deals aren’t done. One thing we can say with relative certainty is that Minnesota is going all-in on 2021. Expect Spielman to continue doing his thing.