The 2017 NFL offseason is officially upon us, folks. There’s a lot of work to be done for the Minnesota Vikings (and 31 other less important teams) this offseason. The new league year gets underway on 9 March. What needs to be done between now and then? Well, thanks to the folks at CBS Sports, we have a pretty solid list of what we can expect over the next month or so.
February 6 - The waiver system begins for 2017. This means that any player with less than four years of service that is released by a team has to go through the waiver system, with the worst teams from 2017 having the best opportunity to claim them. Players with four years or more of NFL service are not subject to the waiver wire and immediately become free agents.
February 15 - The period for putting Franchise or Transition Player tags on players starts on this date. The Vikings are not going to be using the tag on anyone this year, and they have not done so since they placed the Franchise tag on Chad Greenway back in 2011.
February 28 - March 6 - The Underwear Olympics, aka the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine, will take place at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Also, even though there are a lot of pending NFL free agents and player representatives wandering around during this time, there are absolutely no meetings taking place, because those sorts of things are against the rules. (Wink wink, nudge nudge.)
March 1 - Last day for Franchise and Transition Player tags to be applied.
March 7 - March 9 - Teams are allowed to make contact with the agents of prospective unrestricted free agents. This is known as the “legal tampering” period, which makes no sense, but that’s the name we’re rolling with.
March 8 - This is a particularly big one for the Vikings, as this is the last day they have to exercise the option on the contract of running back Adrian Peterson. Exercising that option would lock in a $11.75 million base salary for Peterson.
March 9 - The 2017 NFL league year officially gets underway at 3 PM Central. Teams can execute trades and sign free agents starting at this point.
March 9 - This is also the day that the fifth-year option for players that were drafted in the 2014 NFL Draft becomes guaranteed. That means the salaries for cornerback Xavier Rhodes ($8.026 million) and defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd ($6.76 million) will be locked in at that point. We know an extension for Rhodes is coming, but we’re not as sure of Floyd’s fate yet.
March 11 - If the Vikings pick up Adrian Peterson’s option (see March 8), Peterson will also pick up a $6 million roster bonus on this date, bumping his salary (and his cap figure) up to $17.75 million. Pray to the football gods that something else, whether it’s a renegotiation or a release, gets worked out prior to that point.
March 11 - The 2017 base salary of safety Harrison Smith ($5.15 million) becomes fully guaranteed on this date.
March 13 - The Vikings will pay quarterback Sam Bradford a $4 million roster bonus. The team might negotiate a deal to drop his overall cap figure, but the $4 million goes to Bradford on March 13 based on what’s there right now.