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20 minutes ago, Virginia Viking said:

One would be to adjust scheme or change scheme according to the talent on the roster.  Zimmer is one of those coaches that tries to mold players to his scheme rather than adjusting his scheme to player talents.  Another would be how could the coaching staff embrace unpredictability as a weapon.  The Zimmer defense and the Kubiak offense are predictable.  Andy Reid and Bill Belichick have both been successful in keeping their opponents guessing.

The Vikings run a wide zone offensive scheme that takes advantage of an offensive lineman’s athleticism to create running lanes. Who along the offensive line doesn’t fit? The wide zone also is best utilized with running backs with good vision, patience, and the ability to accelerate quickly. Does that not describe Dalvin Cook?

Kubiak likes to use play action, and he likes to set up the big pass play using play action. Two areas where Cousins excels. Zimmer himself has said multiple times that he brought Kubiak in specifically because it’s a scheme that fits the strengths of his quarterback. That sure as heck sounds like a coach who’s picking a scheme based on his player’s abilities.

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43 minutes ago, swede700 said:

The 2021 season will tell us everything we need to know about the direction of the franchise.  

You're right.  There are things that concern me going into the 2021 season: 

1. Kirk will be 33 at the beginning of the season. Not old, but seeing the end of the line on the horizon for a pretty non-mobile QB. While he's been injury free, in his career, he's taken a lot of shots.  His successor is not on the team currently.

2. Hunter coming off neck surgery.  Neck and back surgery on athletes playing contact sports can be hard, especially in recovering pre-injury form.  Will he be as dominant as the Vikings need him to be?  He steps up if he can't go?

3. Michael Pierce took a season off.  I don't begrudge his decision, but that's a whole year away from coaching, training and conditioning.  That's a whole year away from teammates you need to build relationships with.

4.  The CAP.  I know that Rudolph is likely gone, perhaps Barr and Harris as well.   Yet, if that doesn't help the CAP space, the Vikings must look at some contributors, in their prime, whose salaries are difficult to carry forward.  Harrison Smith and Adam Thielen top the list.

5.  Another offensive coordinator.  Like many, I suspect it will wind up being the younger Kubiak.  But, he's never been a game caller at any level. Yeah, he's got his dad to lean on, but a rookie coordinator and play caller for a team trying to return to the playoffs?  Leaves me concerned.

6. The offensive line.  Yes, there was improvement...it would've been hard for them not to improve after 2019!  But, will Bradbury continue to grow.  Will Reiff still be with the team?  If he leaves do you move O'Neill over to the left side, or do you move Cleveland to tackle?  If Cleveland stays a guard, who do you get to play the other side?  If Rashod Hill leaves, who provides his depth to the team?  Do you draft a guard or tackle in the first round?  Lots of question marks.

7. Eric Kendricks.  He is the best middle linebacker in football.  No one has his side to side quickness.  But, he too is coming off injury.  He turns 29 next month.  Linebackers are a lot like running backs...they slow down when they turn 30.  If Kendricks slows down, who will step up in an otherwise weak position group? Wilson? I don't think he's the answer.

8. The secondary. Harrison Smith turns 32 next month.  Anthony Harris had a down season.  Mike Hughes is a bust.  Holton Hill was cut. Gladney, Hand, Dantzler are all young.  Will they continue to grow?

9. Special teams.  Bailey should be gone.  Colquitt likely gone.  Need a new coach.  Coverage team stinks.

10. Zimmer's play calling, ability to adjust in-game, and time management all took hits in 2020.  Will HE rebound?  Will HE improve in 2021?

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TL;DR - The Vikings have many options in terms of opening up cap space, and even if the cap is low, the situation isn't dire.

Using the latest cap figure ($180M per PFT) speculation, I've decided to tackle a couple of scenarios that would be able to get us in a flexible cap situation for the offseason.

1. Per the NFLPA, the Vikings currently have $4,526,326 in cap space that they can roll over into next year.  That puts our effective cap at $184,526,326.  According to Over the Cap, the Vikings currently have $193,457,265 in cap liabilities.  That gives us $-8,930,939 in cap space to start this exercise.

First Tier Move(s) (No Brainers)

Releasing, or trading (TE) Kyle Rudolph.  Either move frees up $5,100,000, and they could free up even more, potential rollover, money by designating him a post-June 1st cut.  This would give them an addition $2,900,000 in cap space after June 1st to remain cap flexible into the season.  Kyle has been a very good player, is a great man in the community, but his production no longer matches his pay, and the team has Irv Smith Jr and Tyler Conklin coming off good stretch runs to the season.  For the purpose of the offseason only, it doesn't matter if he's a post-June 1st cut, regular cut, or trade, we gain $5.1M in cap space bringing our total space to $-3,830,939

Second Tier Move(s) (Likely, but not without problems)

Sliding Restructure of Anthony Barr's contract.  This involves an assumption on my part, and that assumption is that the Vikings have written language into Barr's contract, similar to that of Eric Kendricks, that the team can covert a portion of a player's base salary and convert it to a signing bonus by simply sending a memo to the player involved.  Barr has 7 accrued season in the NFL, which means that his minimum base salary in 2021 can be $1.075M.  His current base salary for next year is $12.3M.  We are sending Anthony a memo that we are converting $11.225M of his base salary into a signing bonus, and that spreads that money out over the next three years of his deal (roughly $3.742M per year).  That saves us $7.483M against the 2021 salary cap, it does push some money into the future, but he could still be cut following the year to free up roughly $6.6M in 2022.  New cap space is $4,012,061 (we are in the black!).

Extending the contract of Danielle Hunter.  What's that you say? Extending Hunter, and paying him more in line with the top pass rushers in the league can actually help our cap situation?  The short answer is yes, for this year.  I'm proposing a two year extension, worth a total of $60M.  We start by reducing Hunter's base salary for 2021 to 990K (vet minimum), and use the remainder of his $12.15M base salary, combined with some new money to give him a $20M signing bonus.  The additional $40M is split into his base salaries for 2024 and 2025.  That $20M signing bonus is split over the now five remaining years of his deal ($4M per year).  That reduction from $12.15M in base salary to 990K while adding $4M in prorated bonus to his cap number gives us another $7.16M in cap space for the 2021 season.  That means we now have $11,172,061 in cap space.  The Vikings would very likely guarantee the base salaries in 2021 and 2022 as part of this deal too.  Hunter gets a nice up front payment, and his contract is now more in line with top pass rushers in the NFL.

Third Tier Move(s) (Not as likely in my estimation)

Release Riley Reiff (saves $11.75M)
Release Trade/Harrison Smith (saves $10.25M)
Trade/Restructure Adam Thielen (savings varies depending on the move, but he doesn't have any guaranteed money left on his deal - he's already signed through his 34 year old season, and pushing more money into the future on that type of player isn't something I'd personally do, but he could be a candidate for a sliding restructure if that language is in his contract.

----------

Again, right now we don't know where the salary cap is going to get set for the 2021 season, the estimates and insider sources are all over the place still.  Given that the Vikings have placed the simple restructure language into a number of their contracts, it's safe to assume players like Barr and Thielen might have the language in theirs as well.  Even with a low cap, there are ways for the Vikings to open up cap space that don't really cripple the cap in the future, or cripple the roster in the short term.  I still think players like Anthony Harris are likely to move on, though we could open up enough space to bring him back if we wanted to.  I'd prefer to move some money around to try to target a player like Sheldon Rankins, who the Saints can pretty much in no-way afford at this point.

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Nice work @RpMc, but I think you are overly worried about whether restructure language is in a player's contract. Even if it isn't, most players will simply agree to the simply restructure. It is a good thing for the player. Lack of that language simply means it might take a little longer for the team to execute the deal.

If a player wouldn't do a simple restructure, it is pretty much an indication that the player hates the team. And that is a good thing to know because that is exactly the kind of guy that you don't want to do that with. You want to look to trade a player like that.

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On 1/24/2021 at 9:16 PM, RpMc said:

TL;DR - The Vikings have many options in terms of opening up cap space, and even if the cap is low, the situation isn't dire.

Using the latest cap figure ($180M per PFT) speculation, I've decided to tackle a couple of scenarios that would be able to get us in a flexible cap situation for the offseason.

1. Per the NFLPA, the Vikings currently have $4,526,326 in cap space that they can roll over into next year.  That puts our effective cap at $184,526,326.  According to Over the Cap, the Vikings currently have $193,457,265 in cap liabilities.  That gives us $-8,930,939 in cap space to start this exercise.

First Tier Move(s) (No Brainers)

Releasing, or trading (TE) Kyle Rudolph.  Either move frees up $5,100,000, and they could free up even more, potential rollover, money by designating him a post-June 1st cut.  This would give them an addition $2,900,000 in cap space after June 1st to remain cap flexible into the season.  Kyle has been a very good player, is a great man in the community, but his production no longer matches his pay, and the team has Irv Smith Jr and Tyler Conklin coming off good stretch runs to the season.  For the purpose of the offseason only, it doesn't matter if he's a post-June 1st cut, regular cut, or trade, we gain $5.1M in cap space bringing our total space to $-3,830,939

Second Tier Move(s) (Likely, but not without problems)

Sliding Restructure of Anthony Barr's contract.  This involves an assumption on my part, and that assumption is that the Vikings have written language into Barr's contract, similar to that of Eric Kendricks, that the team can covert a portion of a player's base salary and convert it to a signing bonus by simply sending a memo to the player involved.  Barr has 7 accrued season in the NFL, which means that his minimum base salary in 2021 can be $1.075M.  His current base salary for next year is $12.3M.  We are sending Anthony a memo that we are converting $11.225M of his base salary into a signing bonus, and that spreads that money out over the next three years of his deal (roughly $3.742M per year).  That saves us $7.483M against the 2021 salary cap, it does push some money into the future, but he could still be cut following the year to free up roughly $6.6M in 2022.  New cap space is $4,012,061 (we are in the black!).

Extending the contract of Danielle Hunter.  What's that you say? Extending Hunter, and paying him more in line with the top pass rushers in the league can actually help our cap situation?  The short answer is yes, for this year.  I'm proposing a two year extension, worth a total of $60M.  We start by reducing Hunter's base salary for 2021 to 990K (vet minimum), and use the remainder of his $12.15M base salary, combined with some new money to give him a $20M signing bonus.  The additional $40M is split into his base salaries for 2024 and 2025.  That $20M signing bonus is split over the now five remaining years of his deal ($4M per year).  That reduction from $12.15M in base salary to 990K while adding $4M in prorated bonus to his cap number gives us another $7.16M in cap space for the 2021 season.  That means we now have $11,172,061 in cap space.  The Vikings would very likely guarantee the base salaries in 2021 and 2022 as part of this deal too.  Hunter gets a nice up front payment, and his contract is now more in line with top pass rushers in the NFL.

Third Tier Move(s) (Not as likely in my estimation)

Release Riley Reiff (saves $11.75M)
Release Trade/Harrison Smith (saves $10.25M)
Trade/Restructure Adam Thielen (savings varies depending on the move, but he doesn't have any guaranteed money left on his deal - he's already signed through his 34 year old season, and pushing more money into the future on that type of player isn't something I'd personally do, but he could be a candidate for a sliding restructure if that language is in his contract.

----------

Again, right now we don't know where the salary cap is going to get set for the 2021 season, the estimates and insider sources are all over the place still.  Given that the Vikings have placed the simple restructure language into a number of their contracts, it's safe to assume players like Barr and Thielen might have the language in theirs as well.  Even with a low cap, there are ways for the Vikings to open up cap space that don't really cripple the cap in the future, or cripple the roster in the short term.  I still think players like Anthony Harris are likely to move on, though we could open up enough space to bring him back if we wanted to.  I'd prefer to move some money around to try to target a player like Sheldon Rankins, who the Saints can pretty much in no-way afford at this point.

Thanks for this!  I could follow your logic.  Sometimes the cap discussions become so specific that I have difficulty in understanding.  I get what you're saying here.

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On 1/20/2021 at 2:39 PM, Virginia Viking said:

Ok.  I am expressing my opinion, and only my opinion.  No, the Browns should not fire Stefanski...they made progress to their goal.  But, if Stefanski learned anything about what NOT to do while working under Zimmer and company, is that pats on the back, declaring it the season a success produces complacency.  I hope Stefanski and the players keep the bad taste of losing to the Chiefs in their mouths and let it drive them to their goal of winning the Super Bowl.  The Browns should not be satisfied.  The Vikings are to satisfied under Zimmer/Spielman to just make the playoffs...every other year.  After the last loss of the year, rather than having Champagne in the locker room as champions, they are cracking open the Listerine so that they put the loss and the season behind them.  The Vikings have fresh breath and no gingivitis, but the also don't have rings.

One of my favorite quotes from Zimmer is that "good is the enemy of great"

I don't recall Zimmer patting the team on the back when the season ends

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3 hours ago, Virginia Viking said:

Thanks for this!  I could follow your logic.  Sometimes the cap discussions become so specific that I have difficulty in understanding.  I get what you're saying here.

I'm glad that you found it useful.  The cap has kind of replaced the draft as my preferred form of nerding out.

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