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And...We're Back! (So Now What?)

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Ladies and gentlemen, it's finally back. Our long, drawn-out, excruciating national nightmare is over. The NFLPA has finally, unanimously approved the terms of the new labor deal. We have our NFL back. Our sweet, sweet football. TODAY IS A GLORIOUS DAY. ALL HAIL THE RETURN OF OUR ALMIGHTY SPORT.

So...now what? Do we just merrily prance around like the residents of Munchkin Land after the Wicked Witch of the West was killed?

Well, first thing's first--the official "league year" begins on August 2, but you and I don't really care about that just yet. The big question is how the super-contracted free agency period is going to explode into our consciousness over the next several days. Here's the schedule as far as we can tell for now:

  • Teams can sign rookies and undrafted free agents starting at 9:00 CT tomorrow morning.
  • Teams can begin to cut players at 3:00 PM CT on Thursday. (Yes, holy crap that's a fast time line.)
  • Players can begin reporting to Training Camp 15 days before their first scheduled preseason game. For the Vikings, this means they can report to Mankato either Thursday or Friday, because their first preseason game against the Titans is scheduled for August 12 or 13.
  • Teams can make transactions official starting Friday at 5:00 PM CT. But I'd be shocked if terms weren't "agreed upon" much earlier for lots of big-name free agents and then finally made official on Friday.

So what does this all mean for the Vikings? I'm fairly certain that most people in the Vikings front office don't even know that at this time. All we can say right now is to stay tuned for much, much, much more news as it unfolds.

And oh yeah, one last thing:

FOOTBALL IS BACK!!! FOOTBALL FOOTBALL FOOTBALL!!! HOORAY FOR FOOTBALL!!!