For the third straight day, the players didn't vote on the proposed CBA. NFLPA representatives were reviewing what the owners voted on and might not vote until Monday. For now, the lockout remains.
Under the original plan being postulated by the media talking heads, the NFL Players Association was expected approve a new collective bargaining agreement on Wednesday – with owners following suit on Thursday and team facilities opening Friday or Saturday.
But Wednesday came and went without the players signing off. So did Thursday. So did Friday.
In something of a surprise to the media types that were popping champagne corks Thursday when the owners voted 31-0 to approve the 10-year CBA (Al Davis of the Raiders abstained), the players haven't voted on the agreement and likely won't until Monday at the earliest.
The NFLPA reportedly sent an email to all players Friday saying that they are reviewing the documentation of the agreement and that they're not in a time-crunch to get a deal done. Instead, they're looking for the best deal for the players.
The NFLPA didn't make any public statements Friday afternoon, in deference to the family of Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Kraft's wife was buried in Boston Friday after losing a lengthy bout with cancer.
While the two sides have worked on weekends in recent weeks – technically, they will be working at going over the 500 pages of documents involved with the proposed CBA – the NFLPA made it clear that no vote will be coming this weekend.
Players are being asked to "sit tight" over the weekend while the review process goes on. The current wisdom claims that the players may vote on Monday whether to re-certify as a union. If they opt out of it, it could be a deal-breaker with the owners, because it would leave the door open for more challenges to the league's antitrust status.
It would appear we remain in the home stretch, but until pen is put to paper, it remains unresolved and the delays further jeopardize whether teams like the Vikings will conduct training camp in Mankato or not. So far, the Vikings are holding off on making a decision about training camp.
The reports of the death of the lockout appear to have been premature. There is still every reason to believe that the lockout will end Monday or Tuesday, but the cryptic words of the player reps who spoke Friday make it seem like they're not in the same rush to get something resolved as the owners are.
One of the pending issues appears to be a players demand that an "opt-out" of the proposed CBA come after seven years. The owners would likely agree to that stipulation. Seven years ago, most cell phones had baby antennae on them. Seven years from now, the landscape could be much different. The owners will "agree" to that stipulation, but reality dictates that both sides should have an exit strategy if one of them is getting shorted in context of pie-splitting. The owners opted out of the last deal and by giving in to a seven-year opt-out option (for both sides), the owners actually help their position while appearing to make a concession.
The primary reason the Vikings allowed the deadline to pass for heading to Mankato for training camp was that the team believed a deal would be finalized and, by the time you're reading this, players would be showing up at Winter Park to start working. While the Vikings are still holding out hope, every day that passes puts the Mankato portion of training camp in further jeopardy.
Tarvaris Jackson said in a radio interview that he would be interested in joining the Seattle Seahawks. Considering the interview was aired in Seattle and Jackson's jersey number in Minnesota has been given to Christian Ponder, which renders his Vikings future moot, one can only assume T-Jack would say the same thing about the Colts if his interview was being broadcast in Indy. The Seattle advantage comes, though, because former offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell is now in that position with the Seahawks.
One of the owners' concession is with violations of agreed-upon practice regimens. Under a proposed change to the rules, if a coach violates an agreed-upon practice rule and a whistle-blower lets it out, not only will the coach be fined $100,000 for the first offense, but the team will be fined an additional $250,000. The combo platter goes from $350,000 to $750,000 on a second offense.
Why the delay? All current members of the NFLPA technically don't get paid during the preseason. Veterans get 17 paychecks – corresponding with each regular-season week. Owners get to keep their revenue from home preseason games without sharing. Who is hurt the most? The young guys trying to make an impression on the coaching staff. John Randle recently told VU that, if he had been in the same situation as an undrafted free agent in 2011, he probably wouldn't have made the squad.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.