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Updated: February 20th, 2012 8:06pm
Pelissero: Even before cuts, Vikings are comfortably under salary cap

Pelissero: Even before cuts, Vikings are comfortably under salary cap

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by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com

The Minnesota Vikings missed the perfect opportunity for a total roster teardown one year ago. They won't make the same mistake twice -- and they'll be in better position from a payroll perspective to begin the process than many realize.

As of Monday, according to a source with access to NFL salary data, the Vikings had about $112.4 million in 2012 cap space committed to 57 players on their roster -- including a little more than $110 million to the "Top 51" who will count against the projected $120.4 million cap when the league year begins on March 13.

Roughly $2 million in "dead" money from unamortized bonus proration will be offset by the small amount of unused cap space carried over from 2011, leaving the Vikings more than $10 million under their adjusted 2012 cap. And that's before they even touch the contracts of several veterans who could be restructured or released in the next few weeks.

Dumping guards Steve Hutchinson ($7 million cap number for 2012) and Anthony Herrera ($3,583,335) and cornerback Cedric Griffin ($4.65 million) would give the Vikings another $13 million to work with even after cap hits from two of those deals. None of the three is in the long-term plans of a rebuilding team coming off a 3-13 season.

Locking up halfback Adrian Peterson, linebacker Chad Greenway and center John Sullivan to multiyear extensions left the Vikings with few starting-caliber free agents of note under age 30, although they'd almost surely re-sign safety Husain Abdullah and linebacker Erin Henderson at the right price.

Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe and linebacker E.J. Henderson top the list of older players likely to walk as the Vikings embrace the overhaul the way they should have after their 2010 flop -- without illusions of patchworking a contender in the interim.

Other restructures could give the Vikings more ammunition to fill at least a couple of their many needs through free agency, with a talented second-contract receiver class the most likely target. They won't be in position to spend with the likes of Tampa Bay, which reportedly is an NFL-high $67 million under the cap, but their hands won't be tied either.

Even last year, when the Vikings were in the unusual position of shedding salary to come into cap compliance after the NFL lockout, vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski used some creative accounting and bonus mechanisms to make the numbers work. There's no reason to believe general manager Rick Spielman won't have the space he needs this time around.

The Vikings' plans should further clarify beginning later this week, when team officials begin their annual round of conversations with agents for their own players and pending free agents at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.

The following is a player-by-player breakdown of the 57 players the Vikings have under contract, including scheduled 2012 base salaries, bonuses and likely to be earned incentives (LTBEs), organized in descending order based on cap number (in parentheses):

Jared Allen ($14,203,194): Includes $11,619,850 base salary.

Adrian Peterson ($12.705 million): Includes $8 million base salary, $250,000 workout bonus.

Kevin Williams ($8,416,670): Includes $7 million base salary, $500,000 workout bonus.

Chad Greenway ($7.7 million): Includes $5.9 million base salary, $100,000 workout bonus.

Steve Hutchinson ($7 million): Includes $6.95 million base salary, $50,000 workout bonus.

Cedric Griffin ($4.65 million): Includes $4.1 million base salary, $50,000 workout bonus.

John Sullivan ($4 million): Includes $3 million base salary.

Brian Robison ($3,978,666): Includes $1.712 million base salary, $100,000 workout bonus.

Charlie Johnson ($3.85 million): Includes $2.95 million base salary, $50,000 workout bonus, $250,000 in LTBEs.

Anthony Herrera ($3,583,335): Includes $2.65 million base salary, $100,000 workout bonus.

Remi Ayodele ($3,438,333): Includes $2.2 million base salary, $50,000 workout bonus.

Michael Jenkins ($3,166,666): Includes $2.5 million base salary.

Antoine Winfield ($3 million): Includes $3 million base salary, de-escalated from $7 million based on 2011 playing time.

Ryan Longwell ($2.625 million): Includes $1.75 million base salary.

Christian Ponder ($2,308,795): Includes $836,759 base salary.

Percy Harvin ($2,043,800): Includes $915,000 base salary, $27,500 workout bonus.

Joe Berger ($1,887,500): Includes $1 million base salary, $35,000 roster bonus, $40,000 workout bonus, $750,000 in LTBEs.

Chris Kluwe ($1,633,333): Includes $1.3 million base salary, $50,000 workout bonus.

Eric Frampton ($1,233,333): Includes $850,000 base salary, $50,000 workout bonus.

Chris Cook ($1.115 million): Includes $540,000 base salary, $100,000 workout bonus.

Kyle Rudolph ($1,052,239): Includes $585,448 base salary.

Cullen Loeffler ($975,000): Includes $840,000 base salary, $10,000 workout bonus.

Phil Loadholt ($917,500): Includes $615,000 base salary, $2,500 workout bonus.

Toby Gerhart ($923,500): Includes $540,000 base salary, $12,500 workout bonus.

Asher Allen ($796,375): Includes $615,000 base salary.

Everson Griffen ($675,000): Includes $540,000 base salary.

Jamarca Sanford ($627,321): Includes $615,000 base salary.

Christian Ballard ($596,110): Includes $465,000 base salary, $29,222 roster bonus.

Jasper Brinkley ($571,500): Includes $565,000 base salary.

Joe Webb ($563,128): Includes $540,000 base salary.

Patrick Brown ($540,000): Includes $540,000 base salary.

Andrew Sendejo ($540,000): Includes $540,000 base salary.

Mickey Shuler ($540,000): Includes $540,000 base salary.

Brandon Burton ($521,563): Includes $465,000 base salary, $14,313 roster bonus.

DeMarcus Love ($500,969): Includes $465,000 base salary, $10,914 roster bonus.

Mistral Raymond ($499,354): Includes $465,000 base salary, $9,871 roster bonus.

Brandon Fusco ($498,195): Includes $465,000 base salary, $9,639 roster bonus.

D'Aundre Reed ($484,454): Includes $465,000 base salary, $6,891 roster bonus.

Stephen Burton ($465,000): Includes $465,000 base salary.

Chris DeGeare ($465,000): Includes $465,000 base salary.

Tyrone McKenzie ($465,000): Includes $465,000 base salary.

Allen Reisner ($465,000): Includes $465,000 base salary.

Emmanuel Arceneaux ($465,000): Includes $465,000 base salary.

Ryan D'Imperio ($465,000): Includes $465,000 base salary.

Larry Dean ($465,000): Includes $465,000 base salary.

Jordan Todman ($465,000): Includes $465,000 base salary.

Marcus Sherels ($465,000): Includes $465,000 base salary.

McLeod Bethel-Thompson ($397,500): Includes $390,000 base salary, prorated portion of $5,000 signing bonus.

Kris Adams ($390,000): Includes $390,000 base salary.

Matt Asiata ($390,000): Includes $390,000 base salary.

Solomon Elimimian ($390,000): Includes $390,000 base salary.

Daniel Hardy ($390,000): Includes $390,000 base salary.

Reggie Jones ($390,000): Includes $390,000 base salary.

Butch Lewis ($390,000): Includes $390,000 base salary.

Kerry Taylor ($390,000): Includes $390,000 base salary.

Jose Valdez ($390,000): Includes $390,000 base salary.

Caleb King ($390,000): Includes $390,000 base salary.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
In this story: Husain Abdullah, Kris Adams, Asher Allen, Jared Allen, Emmanuel Arceneaux, Matt Asiata, Remi Ayodele, Christian Ballard, Joe Berger, McLeod Bethel-Thompson, Jasper Brinkley, Patrick Brown, Stephen Burton, Brandon Burton, Chris Cook, Ryan D'Imperio, Larry Dean, Chris DeGeare, Solomon Elimimian, Eric Frampton, Brandon Fusco, Toby Gerhart, Chad Greenway, Everson Griffen, Cedric Griffin, Daniel Hardy, Percy Harvin, E.J. Henderson, Erin Henderson, Anthony Herrera, Steve Hutchinson, Michael Jenkins, Charlie Johnson, Reggie Jones, Caleb King, Chris Kluwe, Butch Lewis, Phil Loadholt, Cullen Loeffler, Ryan Longwell, DeMarcus Love, Tyrone McKenzie, Adrian Peterson, Christian Ponder, Mistral Raymond, D'Aundre Reed, Allen Reisner, Brian Robison, Kyle Rudolph, Jamarca Sanford, Andrew Sendejo, Marcus Sherels, Visanthe Shiancoe, Mickey Shuler, John Sullivan, Kerry Taylor, Jordan Todman, Jose Valdez, Joe Webb, Kevin Williams, Antoine Winfield
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