Now that the regular season is over, the Minnesota Vikings (and many other teams) have spent times signing players to what are called "reserve/future" contracts. A reserve/future contract is a contract given to a player for the upcoming NFL season, even though the new league year does not start until March.
Reserve/future contracts can only be given to players that were not on any team's active roster at the end of the 2015 NFL season. That means they can be extended to practice squad players or to veterans that had not latched on with anyone prior to the end of the season. Players who were on practice squads at the end of the year are free to sign a futures deal with any other team.
Since the season ended, the Vikings have signed eight players to reserve/future contracts. Seven of those players were on the team's practice squad at the end of the year, but the one that was not is kind of interesting.
The Vikings signed former Carolina Panthers cornerback Melvin White to a futures deal a couple of days ago. White signed with the Panthers in 2013 as an undrafted free agent out of Louisiana-Lafayette. In his two seasons with the Panthers, he actually started 17 of the 30 games he played in, including ten of his fifteen games in his rookie season. In those two seasons, he racked up 83 tackles and collected three interceptions, including a pick-six in the Panthers' 2013 season finale.
White was cut by the Panthers in Training Camp this past season, and wound up on the practice squad of the St. Louis Rams, where he remained all season long. White is a bigger corner, measuring in at 6'1" and 215 pounds. It will be interesting to see what sort of opportunity he gets when camps and OTAs come around.
Here are the seven practice squad members that the Vikings also signed to reserve/future contracts this week:
G Isame Faciane
WR Isaac Fruechte
DT Toby Johnson
S John Lowdermilk
LB Terrance Plummer
FB Blake Renaud
LB Alex Singleton
It should also be noted that the Vikings lost a practice squad player as well, as the Panthers signed offensive lineman David Yankey to a reserve/future contract. Yankey was a fifth-round pick of the Vikings in 2014 out of Stanford. He spent much of his rookie season inactive and spent all of 2015 on the practice squad as things just didn't work out for him here in Minnesota.