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Updated: October 15th, 2010 1:25am
Pelissero: Vikings' top-heavy payroll has some pricey underachievers so far

Pelissero: Vikings' top-heavy payroll has some pricey underachievers so far

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by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Sunday's game at the Metrodome will match two of the NFL's most disappointing teams in the season's early going.

It also will match two of the league's biggest spenders: the Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings, who both enter with 1-3 records and NFC playoff hopes perhaps in the balance.

Based on Week 1 rosters, the Cowboys ranked second in the league in salary-cap spending at $166.5 million, trailing only the Washington Redskins ($178.2 million). The New Orleans Saints ($145.0 million) were third and the Vikings ($143.4 million) fourth -- and that was before they traded for receiver Randy Moss and the prorated portion of his $6.4 million base salary last week.

This is a "final league year" without a salary cap, of course, rendering those numbers moot. More notable are the Vikings' actual cash commitments, which total roughly $129.5 million in 2010 base salaries and bonuses for players on the 53-man roster and three players on injured reserve, according to data obtained by 1500ESPN.com.

That figure doesn't include incentives, future escalators, deferred money, practice-squad salaries or a little more than $1 million in 2010 bonuses paid to players who aren't on the 53-man roster.

Considering last year's adjusted cap was $128 million, with an average annual rise of 6.9% since the last collective-bargaining extension in 2006, the Vikings' status among the top spenders appears at least partly indicative of a reduction in league-wide spending as owners gird for a possible work stoppage in March.

But the Vikings roster also is rather top-heavy, with two players accounting for more than 22% of the total 2010 cash commitment and five players set to take home $6 million or more in 2010 salary and bonuses alone.

Of the 11 highest-paid players, nine will be 30 or older by next season, for which the Vikings have a little more than $90 million committed -- though not guaranteed -- to 35 players on the current 53-man roster. Meanwhile, numerous younger starters are possible 2011 free agents and star running back Adrian Peterson, among others, could be headed for standoffs over early extensions next summer, when there likely will be a cap again.

That opens the possibility of restructuring of some of the top deals and making tough decisions to keep the Vikings' core intact. In other words, when coach Brad Childress told players before last month's win over the Detroit Lions that some of them might not be back next season, he wasn't just talking about Brett Favre.

The following is a player-by-player look at the Vikings' player payroll, organized by 2010 compensation (base salary and bonuses only), with particular focus on eight highly paid players who have not provided value in terms of production so far this season. Also included are the average per year (APY) of each player's contract, likely to be earned (LTBEs) and not likely to be earned (NLBTEs) incentives available, quick stats and rankings compiled by the Web site ProFootballFocus.com based on study of game tape for the league's first five weeks this season.

1. QB Brett Favre
2010 compensation: $16 million ($11.6M base, $4.4M signing, $4M NLTBEs). APY: $16 million. Signed through: 2010.
Vitals: 74-of-131, 861 yards, 5 TDs, 7 INTs, 67.0 rating.
PFF rank: 34th of 36 quarterbacks (minimum 25% of snaps).
Analysis: There is significant concern about tendinitis in Favre's elbow, and at 41, he has said this is his final season. He's done nothing so far to justify the Vikings' decision to upgrade his contract during the plea for him to return.

2. DE Jared Allen
2010: $10,380,100 ($6,380,100 base, $4M roster, $200K LTBEs). APY: $12,210,012. Signed through: 2013.
Vitals: 22 tackles (14 solo), 1 sack, no QB hits.
PFF rank: 56th of 57 defensive ends (4-3 schemes only).
Analysis: Allen, 28, is off to an even slower start than usual. When he gets single-blocked as much as he did in Monday's loss to the New York Jets, he simply has to get to the quarterback. At this rate he'll make almost $2.6 million per sack.

3. LG Steve Hutchinson
2010: $6.6 million ($6.55M base, $50K workout). APY: $7 million. Signed through: 2012.
PFF rank: t-26th of 73 guards.
Analysis: Hutchinson, 32, remains a solid starter, but he showed signs of decline last season and no longer can be considered elite. A contract that continues to put him among not only the highest-paid guards, but highest-paid offensive lineman, in the NFL is not team-friendly.

4. CB Antoine Winfield
2010: $6.5 million ($6.5M base, $100K LTBEs). APY: $6.9 million. Signed through: 2013.

5. WR Percy Harvin
2010: $6.201 million ($395K base, $2,158,500 roster, $27,500 workout, $3.62M option). APY: $2.285 million. Signed through: 2013.

6. WR Randy Moss
2010: $4,894,117* ($6.4M base). APY: N/A. Signed through: 2010.
Vitals: 13 catches, 220 yards, 4 TDs (4 catches, 81 yards, 1 TD with Vikings).
PFF rank: 93rd of 101 receivers.
Analysis: In the end, the impact of Moss' presence alone on the offense may make the price tag a bargain. But it remains to be seen if the 33-year-old can have the same sort of impact he did with New England in 2007 while learning the Vikings' offense on the fly.

7. LT Bryant McKinnie
2010: $4.85 million ($4.6M base, $250K workout, $250K LTBEs, $2M NLTBEs). APY: $6,928,571. Signed through: 2013.

8. NT Pat Williams
2010: $4.6 million ($4.25M base, $25K roster, $100K workout). APY: $5,766,667. Signed through: 2010.
Vitals: 13 tackles (9 solo), 1 tackle for loss, 1 QB hit, 1 forced fumble.
PFF rank: 49th of 72 defensive tackles.
Analysis: At 37, Williams has been declining for years. Games like he had against the Jets are a reminder he may not have much time left, even though he still is capable of being an effective run-stuffer for 30 or so snaps a game.

9. MLB E.J. Henderson
2010: $4.2 million ($4.1M base, $100K workout, $50K NLTBEs). APY: $5 million. Signed through: 2011. 

10. WLB Ben Leber
2010: $4 million ($3.95M base, $50K workout, $50K NLTBEs). APY: $3.95 million. Signed through: 2010.

11. WR Bernard Berrian
2010: $3.8 million ($3.7M base, $100K workout). APY: $7 million. Signed through: 2013.
Vitals: 5 catches, 38 yards, no TDs.
PFF rank: 95th out of 101 receivers.
Analysis: Berrian, 30, played a season-low 13 snaps on Monday, making it more apparent than ever he's fallen out of favor with coaches.

12. RB Adrian Peterson
2010: $3.64 million ($3.64M base, $2.45M NLTBEs). APY: $3,865,833. Signed through: 2012 (final year will void).

13. SLB Chad Greenway
2010: $3.17 million ($3.17M base, $1.05M NLTBEs). APY: $2,328,438. Signed through: 2010.

14. FS Madieu Williams
2010: $3,074,000 ($2.974M base, $100K workout, $1.01M LTBEs). APY: $5.5 million. Signed through: 2013.
Vitals: 32 tackles (17 solo), 2 passes defended, 1 forced fumble.
PFF rank: 55th of 80 safeties.
Analysis: It's been the same old story with Williams, who turns 29 on Monday. His impact as a communicator can't be measured, but when it comes to making plays, he's in position a lot more often than he seals the deal.

15. CB Cedric Griffin^
2010: $3,050,000 ($3M base, $50K workout). APY: $5.1 million. Signed through: 2014.
Vitals: 9 tackles (6 solo), 2 passes defended in 2 games. Out for season (torn ACL).
PFF rank: 18th of 94 cornerbacks.
Analysis: Griffin, 27, played remarkably well for a guy 8½ months removed from knee reconstruction -- until he blew out the other knee on Monday. The injuries aren't his fault, but the bottom line is the Vikings haven't gotten much return on their investment since giving Griffin a five-year, $28.5 million extension in March 2009.

16. DT Kevin Williams
2010: $2,774,000 ($2.274M base, $500K workout). APY: $6,648,215. Signed through: 2014.

17. TE Visanthe Shiancoe
2010: $2.7 million ($2.1M base, $500K roster, $100K workout). APY: $3.7 million. Signed through: 2011. 

18. CB Chris Cook
2010: $2.62 million ($320K base, $2.3M signing). APY: $1,022,500. Signed through: 2013.

19. DE Ray Edwards
2010: $2.521 million#. APY: $2.521 million. Signed through: 2010.

20 (tie). DT Jimmy Kennedy
2010: $2.5 million ($1.5M base, $1M roster). APY: $2.5 million. Signed through: 2011.

20 (tie). TE Jimmy Kleinsasser
2010: $2.5 million (base). APY: $3 million. Signed through: 2011.

22. PK Ryan Longwell
2010: $2 million ($1.5M base, $500K roster). APY: $2 million. Signed through: 2010.

23. RB Toby Gerhart
2010: $1.804 million ($320K base, $2.3M signing). APY: $1.484 million. Signed through: 2013.

24. DT Fred Evans
2010: $1.759 million#. APY: $1.759 million. Signed through: 2010.

25. RG Anthony Herrera
2010: $1.525 million ($1.425M base, $100K workout, $250K NLTBEs). APY: $2.75 million. Signed through: 2012.

26 (tie). LB Heath Farwell
2010: $1.5 million ($1.5M base, $750K LTBEs, $100K NLTBEs). APY: $2,583,333. Signed through: 2011.

26 (tie). CB Lito Sheppard
2010: $1.5 million ($1.25M base, $250K signing, $500K NLTBEs). APY: $1.5 million. Signed through: 2010.

28. WR Greg Camarillo
2010: $1.3 million (base). APY: N/A. Signed through: 2011.

29 (tie). OL Ryan Cook
2010: $1.176 million#. APY: $1.176 million. Signed through: 2010.

29 (tie). QB Tarvaris Jackson
2010: $1.176 million#. APY: $1.176 million. Signed through: 2010.

29 (tie). FB Naufahu Tahi
2010: $1.176 million#. APY: $1.176 million. Signed through: 2010.

32. S Eric Frampton
2010: $1.101 million#. APY: $1.101 million. Signed through: 2010.

33. P Chris Kluwe
2010: $1.025 million ($1M base, $25K workout, $50K NLTBEs). APY: $1,378,667. Signed through: 2013.

34. DE Everson Griffen
2010: $805,000 ($320K base, $540K signing). APY: $582,500. Signed through: 2013.

35. WR Greg Lewis
2010: $805,000 ($755K base, $25K signing, $25K workout). APY: $805,000. Signed through: 2010.

36. TE Jeff Dugan
2010: $775,000 ($725K base, $50K workout, $45K NLTBEs). APY: $855,000. Signed through: 2011.

37. LS Cullen Loeffler
2010: $745,000 ($725k base, $20K workout). APY: $785,000. Signed through: 2011.

38. WR Hank Baskett
2010: $555,882* ($630K base). APY: $630,000. Signed through: 2010.

39 (tie). WR Sidney Rice@
2010: $550,000 ($550K base, $726,500 NLTBEs). APY: $745,250. Signed through: 2010.

39 (tie). DE Brian Robison
2010: $550,000 (base). APY: $537,250. Signed through: 2010.

41. CB Frank Walker
2010: $532,941* ($755K base). APY: $755,000. Signed through: 2010.

42. OL Chris DeGeare
2010: $484,800 ($320K base, $164,800 signing). APY: $488,700. Signed through: 2013.

43 (tie). SS Husain Abdullah
2010: $475,000 (base). APY: $388,333. Signed through: 2010.

43 (tie). LB Erin Henderson
2010: $475,000 (base). APY: $385,000. Signed through: 2010.

45 (tie). SS Tyrell Johnson
2010: $470,000 ($470K base, $706K NLTBEs). APY: $793,500. Signed through: 2011.

45 (tie). DT Letroy Guion
2010: $470,000 (base). APY: $470,425. Signed through: 2011.

45 (tie). C John Sullivan
2010: $470,000 (base). APY: $450,300. Signed through: 2011.

48. QB Joe Webb
2010: $412,515 ($320K base, $92,515 signing). APY: $470,629. Signed through: 2013.

49. RT Phil Loadholt
2010: $397,500 ($395K base, $2,500 workout, $475K NLTBEs). APY: $737,500. Signed through: 2012.

50 (tie). CB Asher Allen
2010: 395,000 (base). APY: $618,875. Signed through: 2012.

50 (tie). LB Jasper Brinkley
2010: $395,000 (base). APY: $484,000. Signed through: 2012.

50 (tie). SS Jamarca Sanford
2010: $395,000 (base). APY: $449,819. Signed through: 2012.

50 (tie). LB Kenny Onatolu
2010: $395,000 (base). APY: $396,667. Signed through: 2011.

50 (tie). C Jon Cooper
2010: $395,000 (base). APY: $395,000. Signed through: 2011.

50 (tie). RB Albert Young
2010: $352,500 (base). APY: $352,500. Signed through: 2010.

56 (tie). WR Jaymar Johnson^
2010: $240,000 (split base salary). APY: $352,500. Signed through: 2010.

56 (tie). LB J Leman^
2010: $240,000 (split base salary). APY: $352,500. Signed through: 2010.

* Prorated portion of base salary for player added during season
# Restricted free-agent tender
@ Reserve/physically unable to perform list
^ Injured reserve

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, Jared Allen, Asher Allen, Hank Baskett, Bernard Berrian, Jasper Brinkley, Greg Camarillo, Brad Childress, Ryan Cook, Chris Cook, Jon Cooper, Chris DeGeare, Jeff Dugan, Ray Edwards, Fred Evans, Heath Farwell, Brett Favre, Eric Frampton, Toby Gerhart, Chad Greenway, Everson Griffen, Cedric Griffin, Letroy Guion, Percy Harvin, E.J. Henderson, Erin Henderson, Anthony Herrera, Steve Hutchinson, Tarvaris Jackson, Tyrell Johnson, Jaymar Johnson, Jimmy Kennedy, Jimmy Kleinsasser, Chris Kluwe, Ben Leber, J Leman, Greg Lewis, Phil Loadholt, Cullen Loeffler, Ryan Longwell, Bryant McKinnie, Randy Moss, Kenny Onatolu, Adrian Peterson, Sidney Rice, Brian Robison, Jamarca Sanford, Lito Sheppard, Visanthe Shiancoe, John Sullivan, Naufahu Tahi, Frank Walker, Joe Webb, Madieu Williams, Kevin Williams, Pat Williams, Antoine Winfield, Albert Young
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