It’s considered a cardinal sin to look ahead during the season. The Vikings 2016 season has concluded, though, and thus begins the organization’s process of building toward the 2017 season. So, what’s ahead for the Vikings in the coming months? A lot. Here are a few of the major dates and events.
Player retention – January 2
It makes sense to ensure your own house is in order before the process begins to attain new players via free agency and the NFL draft. Beginning today, January 2, NFL clubs may begin signing free agent players for 2017, including practice squad players with expiring contracts and street free agents. Clubs may also begin renegotiating or extending contracts of their 2014 draft class and the period for clubs to exercise the fifth-year option for first-round selections from the 2014 draft (Jan. 2-May 2) begins.
Player selected by the Vikings in the 2014 draft (*1st rounder)
Feb. 15-March 1 – Period for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players
The values for each position’s tag will be determined when the 2017 salary cap is announced at a later date.
Feb. 28-March 6 – Combine Timing and Testing (Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN)
Vikings Entertainment Network will be sending a full crew to Indianapolis once again this year to provide wall-to-wall coverage of the Vikings at the Combine. GM Rick Spielman and Head Coach Mike Zimmer will meet with reporters in press conference format, plus they’ll meet separately with local reporters. Also, Voice of the Vikings Paul Allen will host his weekday radio show twice during the Combine and VEN will be there to help capture his interviews plus other interviews with NFL analysts at the Combine.
March 9 – First day of the 2017 League Year and Free Agency period
This is essentially calendar-flipping day for the NFL. The most visible component of this day is it marks the beginning of the free agent frenzy because all 2016 player contracts expire at 3:00 p.m. CT. There are many other important facets to the beginning of the new League Year, including but not limited to:
-- Clubs must exercise options for 2017 on all players who have option clauses in their 2016 contracts.
-- Clubs must submit Qualifying Offers to their Restricted Free Agents with expiring 2016 contracts to retain a Right of First Refusal/Compensation.
-- Clubs must submit a Minimum Salary Tender to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2016 contracts who have fewer than three Accrued Seasons of free agency credit.
-- All clubs must be under the 2017 Salary Cap.
-- The trading period for 2017 begins at 3:00 p.m. CT.
Vikings with expiring contracts on March 9, 2017
(A restricted free agent is any veteran player with three Accrued Seasons but less than four Accrued Seasons who has a contract that expires when the new League Year begins but who can also be retained by his current club at various levels of compensation as defined in Article 9, Section 2 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.)
March 26-29 – Annual League Meeting (Phoenix, AZ)
April 17 – Vikings may begin offseason program
The team has not announced when the offseason program will begin, but this is the earliest date it can kick off. Teams with new head coaches are permitted to begin their offseason program on April 3.
April 27-29 – 2017 NFL Draft
The Vikings currently have eight selections in the 2017 NFL Draft. They do not have a 1st-round pick because it was sent to Philadelphia as part of the trade to acquire QB
3rd round (from Miami)
4th round (from Miami)
May 5-8 / May 12-15 – Clubs may hold rookie minicamp
The Vikings have not announced when their annual rookie minicamp will be held, but it will be over the course of one of two weekends in May. The rookie minicamp is three days and is either a Friday-Sunday or Saturday-Monday format.
May 15 – Rookies may report to offseason program
May 22-24 – Spring League Meeting (Chicago, IL)