EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Much of the focus this time of year is on the acquiring of players via free agency, but the addition of a player by one team means subtraction from the other, and at the onset of the new league year, the latter could have substantial significance to the Vikings in the NFC North division.
NFL.com placed four Lions players, five Packers and three Bears in its list of the top 101 players set to become free agents (unless they work out deals to remain with their clubs).
Check out NFL.com's list of the top 30 free agents.
The rankings were:
Detroit—1) DT Ndamukong Suh; 14) DT Nick Fairley; 68) RB Reggie Bush; 91) DT C.J. Mosley
Green Bay—4) WR Randall Cobb; 15) T Bryan Bulaga; 36) DT B.J. Raji; 40) CB Davon House; 41) CB Tramon Williams
Chicago—42) Steven Paea; 87) Charles Tillman; 88) Lance Briggs
The Bears on Friday announced an agreement to trade WR Brandon Marshall to the New York Jets.
The Vikings recently released left guard Charlie Johnson, and this week announced an agreement to trade veteran QB Matt Cassel to Buffalo. Fullback Jerome Felton previously announced he plans to opt out of his contract for 2015.
Teams are allowed to enter a three-day negotiation window with potential free agents on Saturday before the league year begins at 3 p.m. (CT) March 10. Some call this relatively new window created in the schedule "legal tampering" but it allows representatives of players to gather "negotiating positions" from potential suitors.
That information can help players gauge the market as the clock winds down toward decision deadlines. Players can still re-sign with current teams during the window (Everson Griffen received an extension from the Vikings last year).
Thus, there's no guarantee that all or any of the players listed above have changes of scenery, but it is possible that some foes that have been challenges for the Vikings within the division may be elsewhere next season.
Click here to read a free agency preview of the NFC North by the Associated Press.