The NFL’s legal tampering period begins Tuesday, which means teams can begin openly discussing deals with representatives of all pending free agents. Contracts can’t be finalized until free agency officially opens Thursday at 3 p.m. CT.
Unlike in years prior, a handful of impact players with expiring contracts are expected to be made available off the Vikings roster. As a result, General Manager Rick Spielman’s tendency to re-sign his own could be tested if prices are driven up.
The Vikings currently sit with $38,053,173 in salary cap space, ranking 14th in the league, according to NFLPA records. And the roster has glaring holes along the offensive line, which may need to be addressed heavily in free agency ahead of what is considered a thin draft class.
More than a few of the Vikings’ roughly 15 unrestricted free agents, including running back Adrian Peterson and cornerback Captain Munnerlyn, are expected to test the market before potentially returning to Minnesota. Left tackle Matt Kalil and receiver Cordarrelle Patterson will also draw interest elsewhere.
Peterson, who turns 32 in two weeks, will face an intriguing market as a first-time free agent, outlined by Matt Vensel here. Munnerlyn should be a priority as a key contributor in the Vikings secondary, but he’ll be looking for the biggest deal in his last major dip into free agency.
The Vikings have interest in retaining punter Jeff Locke and linebacker Audie Cole, but both are also open to offers this week, according to league sources. Running back Matt Asiata is not expected to re-sign with the Vikings, per a league source.
One Viking not expected to go anywhere is receiver Adam Thielen, a restricted free agent. Thielen is expected to get the second-round tender, worth nearly $2.8 million, this week with negotiations continuing on a long-term deal, according to a league source. Teams can make offers to Thielen, but they would need to be willing to part ways with a second-round pick to acquire him.
Offensive linemen Zac Kerin and Jeremiah Sirles, exclusive rights free agents, are also expected to stick around with the Vikings. Kerin was tendered on Monday, a one-year league minimum deal worth $615,000, according to a league source.