The Vikings have never been afraid to be active in free agency since Zygi Wilf took over as owner in the spring of 2005. But due to the Vikings' success this season, free agency stands to be much different for them this March.
That's because with the final year of the current collective bargaining agreement set to begin March 5, and apparently no extension on the horizon, the 2010 season will be one without a salary cap. There also will be restrictions on free agency and reductions in player benefits.
Among the new rules that will go into place will be one that impacts the final eight teams in the playoffs. As for the teams in the conference championship games, they will not be allowed to sign any unrestricted free agents unless they lose one.
That means the Vikings likely won't be able to be nearly as aggressive in lining up visits with players early in free agency because they don't know when they will lose a player. Plus, you have to figure that potential top-line free agents -- and there aren't many of them -- are going to want to set up visits with teams that they know can sign them immediately.
Update: Mike Garafola of the Newark Star-Ledger (via Pro Football Talk) has the franchise and transition tag numbers at each position for 2010. These figures are based on the average of the highest five or 10 players at each position, depending on which tag a team might use.
Here they are:
Quarterback: $16.405 million [franchise tag], $14.546 million [transition tag]
Defensive end: $12.398m, $10.193m
Offensive line: $10.731m, $9.142m
Linebacker: $9.680m, $8.373m
Cornerback: $9.566 m , $8.056 m
Wide receiver: $9.521m, $8.651m
Punter/kicker: $2.814m, $2.629m