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Vikings release left tackle Riley Reiff to get below salary cap

NFL: Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings
Dec 31, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman Riley Reiff (71) against the Chicago Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings learned on Wednesday morning that they were $2.2 million over the NFL salary cap for the 2021 season. On Wednesday afternoon, they made a move to address that issue and get below the cap by releasing left tackle Riley Reiff. That will save the Vikings $11.75 million in cap space and result in a $3.2 million hit in dead money.

Reiff was entering the final season of his contract and would have carried a $14.95 million salary-cap hit.

Reiff, 32, was a candidate for a restructure and/or extension. The fact he did not take it was not a surprise given the Vikings forced him to take a $5 million pay cut before last season. Reiff was scheduled to receive a $5 million roster bonus on March 19 and had a base salary of $6.75 for 2021.

The NFL salary cap will be $182.5 million after being $198.2 million last season. The Vikings’ estimated cap space with Reiff gone is about $7.7 million.

The Vikings now have needs at left tackle and left guard. One option would be to move right tackle Brian O’Neill from left tackle to right tackle. Minnesota also could move right guard Ezra Cleveland back to his natural position of left tackle.