As always, this is subject to the CBA.
Some of these players are showing that they have rare NFL longevity, (Antoine Winfield). But others are starting to show signs of slowing down, such as, OG Steve Hutchinson, OT Bryant McKinnie and TE Jimmy Kleinsasser.
Then the Vikings have some underperforming high salary players on the roster. These players are supposedly in their primes but are not performing better than second teamers.
They are of course S Madieu Williams and WR Bernard Berrian. Who were both lured in with a big cash promise to be forces for the team at their positions, neither have done that.
So what will the Vikings do with them?
It is unlikely that McKinnie is going to get the ax despite his inconsistent play. He is not too old to get better, though that window is rumored to be closing fast, two to three years tops. He will get to stay due to the weakness of the offensive line.
Hutchinson on the other hand may be asked to take a pay cut. The Vikings brass isn't afraid to pay players to stick around. But they could invest in some receivers, defensive backs and a linebacker this offseason and could use cap space. However, Hutchinson will have leverage due to the current state of the Vikings shabby line.
But when it comes to Kleinsasser, Williams and Berrian a hard decision is going to have to be made.
The Vikings are very deep at tight end after drafting rookie Kyle Rudolph and have no reason to keep an aging player like Kleinsasser. It's just business.
Williams provides depth at safety. But his contract is enormous for a depth guy. The Vikings expected a lot more than one interception over the last two years combined when they signed him. With Winfield getting older the option to move him to safety is real. Williams must be released.
Berrian is in the same boat as Williams. His production is not impressive. His pay day is huge and he is often injured when he is NOT making catches. The issue with depth is a concern. But if the team cuts him they will have a chance to attract someone of real value with the free money.
Minnesota is at a time where the players are getting older, but most of them can last long enough for the next generation (Kevin Williams, E.J. Henderson and Winfield etc.) .
Freeing up the money that the formerly mentioned players are consuming would make for some interesting offseason additions that could make an immediate impact.
Or the Vikings can keep the guys they know and watch them disappear during the game.