Free agency begins next week and the launch of the Vikings offseason program is right around the corner (on April 7). The offseason schedule winds down a familiar path for most teams, but there are a few twists and turns for the Vikings this year.
Mike Zimmer is in his first year as Vikings Head Coach, and there are slight adjustments in offseason procedures for clubs that have a first-year head coach at the helm.
Clubs With New Coaches: Can begin April 7
All Other Clubs: Can begin April 21
The Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) mandates that each year offseason workout programs cannot begin prior to the first Monday in April for Clubs that have hired a new head coach after the end of the prior regular season, and cannot begin prior to the third Monday in April for all other Clubs.
Aside from the starting date of the offseason program, rules for new head coaches impact the entire span of time in which the offseason program may exist.
Clubs With New Coaches: Can conduct a 9-week offseason workout program over a 12-week span with 8 of the weeks required to be consecutive and subject to Article 22, Section 3 of the CBA (Minicamps).
All Other Clubs: Can conduct a 9-week offseason workout program over a 10-week span with 8 of the weeks required to be consecutive and subject to Article 22, Section 3 of the CBA (Minicamps).
NOTE: While Clubs with new head coaches can begin their offseason programs two weeks before Clubs with returning head coaches, scheduling requirements are such that the actual length of the offseason program is one week longer (not two). Essentially, the new rules for new coaches is less about there being extra work and more about the teams with head coaches being able to get to work sooner so the new staff and players can become better acclimated.
Vikings: Can have 1 mandatory minicamp for veteran players and 1 additional voluntary minicamp for veteran players.
Others: Can have 1 mandatory minicamp for veteran players.
The CBA mandates that each League Year each Club may hold a maximum of one mandatory minicamp for veteran players. If a Club hires a new head coach after the end of the prior regular season, that Club may hold one additional voluntary minicamp for veteran players. Any mandatory minicamp for veteran players shall count as one of the nine weeks of the Club’s official offseason workout program under Article 21, Section 2(a) of the CBA.