Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


With NFL Combine complete, free agency becomes major focus

Posted by: under Vikings Updated: February 28, 2013 - 11:52 AM
The NFL Combine wrapped up Tuesday in Indianapolis, which has cleared the stage for the next big phase in the 2013 offseason: free agency. Technically, the opening of free agency won’t come until 3 p.m. on Tuesday, March 12. But this year, the NFL has modified protocol, now allowing teams to contact agents of unrestricted free agents three days before the market opens.
That subtle change has altered the communication process somewhat. While the combine used to be an event with much more urgency for teams looking to solidify free agency plans by consulting with representatives of their in-house free agents, now it’s more of a feeling out process for both sides.
The most significant action will kick into high gear when March 9 arrives. That will allow agents of UFAs to shop around, discover a legitimate market value for their clients and then, if so desired, return to the original teams with concrete information to share and negotiate off of.
As we’ve noted, the Vikings have 10 UFAs – six on offense and another four on defense.  There will be some difficult decisions to make.
The Vikings will also have the opportunity in those three days leading up to free agency to engage in talks with UFAs from other teams. Though, let it be noted once again that a free-agency spending spree is highly unlikely.
Still, set a reminder for the weekend of March 9. That’s when the free agent action will accelerate. And if you’re interested to know which players might be available at each position, the comprehensive list is here.
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