Not long after Vikings coach Mike Zimmer publicly bemoaned the extent to which financial concerns impact the depth of the roster, the Vikings announced a transaction that definitely won’t make it easier to have money around for a second-tier of players who can step if if/when starters get injured.
The Vikings signed tackle Brian O’Neill to a lucrative extension, at five years and $92.5 million.
Here are the details of the O’Neill contract, per source with knowledge of the terms of the deal.
1. Signing bonus: $20 million. Of that amount, $3 million will be paid within 10 days, $13 million will be paid in 2022, and $4 million will be paid in 2023.
2. Roster bonus: $1.576 million, earned September 8.
3. 2021 base salary: $1.05 million, fully guaranteed.
4. 2022 base salary: $4.4 million, guaranteed for injury at signing and fully guaranteed one the third day of the 2022 league year.
5. 2023 base salary: $14.5 million, guaranteed for injury at signing and fully guaranteed on the third day of the 2023 league year.
6. 2024 base salary: $14.4 million, $7.7 million of which is guaranteed for injury at signing and $12 million of which becomes fully guaranteed on the third day of the 2024 league year.
7. 2025 base salary: $17.4 million.
8. 2026 base salary: $18.9 million.
The deal includes $100,00 workout bonuses and $500,000 per-game roster bonuses from 2022 through 2026. It also has $1 million escalators for 2022 through 2026 based on O’Neill being named a first-team All-Pro.
The deal is another example of the Vikings taking care of their own, rewarding players who perform well and earn healthy second contracts. Still, it becomes yet another big contract for the Vikings, one that will chew up cash and cap space for starters, at the expense of having the money available to ensure that, if/when starters go down, appropriate cash will be available for those who are pressed into service.
And while the move gives Vikings certainty at right tackle for 2021 and several years to come, Zimmer’s primary concern is 2021. If things go haywire for the Vikings this year, he may not be around to enjoy the presence of O’Neill for several years thereafter.