With no games left to play in the 2016 season, the Minnesota Vikings must now shift their focus to the 2017 offseason in an effort to improve their roster.
Unfortunately, the Minnesota Vikings were not one of the 12 NFL teams to qualify for the 2016 playoffs this season. It has definitely been one of the most disappointing years in the franchise’s history, but now the team has a lot of time this offseason to make sure they improve in 2017.
Over the next four months, a number of events will be taking place that will play a giant part in how successful the Vikings can truly be next season.
January 2: Minnesota has from this date until to May 3 to exercise the fifth-year options on their first round selections from the 2014 NFL Draft. Linebacker Anthony Barr and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater are the two Vikings players eligible this offseason and it would be very surprising if the team did not exercise the options for both of these players.
January 28: The 2017 Reese’s Senior Bowl will take place in Mobile, Alabama. A number of Minnesota’s current players have played in this annual game including Willie Beavers (2016), Kentrell Brothers (2016), T.J. Clemmings (2015), Shamar Stephen (2014), Jerick McKinnon (2014), and Jeff Locke (2013).
January 29: The 2017 NFL Pro Bowl is happening in wonderful Orlando, Florida. As of right now, defensive end Everson Griffen, cornerback Xavier Rhodes, safety Harrison Smith, and kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson are the players that will be representing the Vikings in this year’s contest.
February 15: Minnesota has from this date until March 1 to use their franchise and transition tags on players whose contracts expire after the 2016 season. It would be very surprising if the Vikings elected to use one of these tags on one of the 14 players currently on their roster that are scheduled to be free-agents in 2017.
February 28 – March 6: A number of future NFL superstars will participate in the 2017 Underwear Olympics, also known as the NFL Scouting Combine. This is also one of the few times that Vikings fans will get to hear from Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman during the months of January and April.
March 7: The Vikings can begin talking potential contracts with the agents of players of will be unrestricted free-agents in 2017.
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Some of the top players currently scheduled to be free-agents this year include wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, cornerback Trumaine Johnson, left tackle Andrew Whitworth, tight end Martellus Bennett, cornerback Stephon Gilmore, and running back Danny Woodhead,
March 9: The 2017 league year will officially begin on this date at 4:00 p.m. eastern. At this time, Minnesota can also officially sign free-agents to new contracts and conduct trades with other teams.
The Vikings have 14 players scheduled to be unrestricted free-agents in 2017 including left tackle Matt Kalil, cornerback Captain Munnerlyn, running back Matt Asiata, quarterback Shaun Hill, tight end Rhett Ellison, and cornerback Terence Newman.
April 27 – 29: Minnesota will have the opportunity to add new players to their roster on these three days during the 2017 NFL Draft in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Vikings have eight selections this year so far, including a total of five picks during the second, third, and fourth rounds.