Vikings' free agents get chance to test market as negotiations begin
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All 10 of the Minnesota Vikings' potential unrestricted free agents are getting a chance to gauge the market, but there's still time to get deals done before they can put pen to paper elsewhere.
The NFL's free-agent negotiating window opened at 11 p.m. Friday. No deal can be finalized until the signing period begins at 3 p.m. Tuesday, though, as the league reminded teams in a strongly worded memo threatening tampering charges if word leaks of any deals being done before then.
In theory, that leaves 87 hours for agents of UFAs to speak with the other 31 teams and judge the contracts players could get elsewhere. Players are prohibited from taking visits or any other direct contact with team officials until contracts expire and the new league begins on Tuesday.
Some deals no doubt will be done in the coming days, if they weren't already, as happens (illegally) every year. As one NFL source put it on Friday when asked about the league's no-tampering directive, "Just like there was no tampering before tonight."
The Vikings were around $17.1 million under their adjusted 2013 salary cap entering Friday, with right tackle Phil Loadholt their top priority to re-sign.
Fullback Jerome Felton and safety Jamarca Sanford figure to be high priorities as well. The other potential UFAs are: linebackers Erin Henderson, Jasper Brinkley and Marvin Mitchell; receivers Devin Aromashodu and Jerome Simpson; and offensive linemen Joe Berger and Geoff Schwartz.
Cornerback A.J. Jefferson is the Vikings' only restricted free agent. Cornerback Marcus Sherels, offensive lineman Troy Kropog and safety Andrew Sendejo are exclusive-rights free agents, meaning they have no bargaining power.
The Vikings are expected to offer qualifying tenders to all four, although that hadn't happened as of Friday afternoon. The deadline is 3 p.m. Tuesday.