For the Vikings, the 2015 season just wrapped up a few days ago. Now the focus turns to the offseason, where the NFC North champions will look to position themselves to take another big step forward in 2016.
Here are 11 offseason dates for Vikings fans to mark on their calendars.
Jan. 30: The Senior Bowl. The NFL will descend on Mobile, Ala. to check out some of the top prospects in the 2016 draft.
Feb. 23-29: The NFL Scouting Combine, aka “the Underwear Olympics,” is held in Indianapolis. Also, a lot of steak and red wine will be consumed as execs, coaches and agents mingle after the daily interviews wrap up.
March 1: This is the deadline to designate players with the franchise or transition tag. The Vikings aren’t expected to use either tag this year.
March 7-9: In this “legal tampering window,” teams are allowed to contact and enter into contract negotiations with the agents of players who will become unrestricted free agents at the end of the 2015 league year.
March 9: The 2016 league year begins at 3 p.m. CT. Teams can now sign free agents and trade players. They must also be salary cap compliant.
March 11: This is decision day regarding running back Adrian Peterson. His $3 million roster bonus is due this day and most of his 2016 salary will become fully guaranteed. The Vikings are expected to keep Peterson around.
March 20-23: The NFL’s annual meetings are held in Boca Raton, Fla.
April 18: The Vikings and other NFL teams with returning head coaches are permitted to begin offseason workout programs at their facilities.
Late April: The NFL will release its 2016 regular season schedule. No exact date has been set for the release, but it should happen in late April.
April 28-30: The NFL draft is back in Chicago for a second straight year. The NFC North champions will pick 23rd in the first round.
May 3: This is the deadline for teams to exercise their fifth-year options for 2013 first-round picks. The Vikings are expected to pick up the options for defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd and cornerback Xavier Rhodes. It seems unlikely, though, that they will with kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson.