Wednesday is the first day that NFL teams can use the franchise tag to secure the services of one of their pending free agents for the 2017 season. The Vikings, per usual, aren't expected to use their tag this offseason.

Over the past decade, the Vikings have only used the franchise tag once. That was in 2011, when they kept outside linebacker Chad Greenway from hitting the market. They then hammered out a new deal, of course.

The main reason why in recent years the Vikings, with Rick Spielman running the front office and Rob Brzezinski leading the negotiations, have not had to use the franchise tag is that they are so proactive about getting new deals done with ascending players early.

In July 2014, they inked tight end Kyle Rudolph to a lucrative extension, ensuring that he did not play out the final year of his rookie deal. Last year, they got their big deal with safety Harrison Smith done during OTAs.

MATT VENSEL