The most obvious move was the Washington Redskins giving up three first-round picks and a second-rounder to acquire the St. Louis Rams' pick at No. 2 to take Robert Griffin III. The result, as expected, means that Andrew Luck and RG3 will be gone and the Vikings will be in line to have their choice of the top players who aren't quarterbacks – most likely USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil – with the No. 3 pick.
But the Redskins' move was one of several that have changed how teams will approach free agency and the draft. By making the trade, Washington has taken itself out of the Peyton Manning sweepstakes. So, too, have the New York Jets, who signed embattled QB Mark Sanchez to a $40.5 million extension that will make him the QB of the future in New York and ends speculation that they may be in the running to bring in Manning.
Manning is on the move this weekend. On Friday, he met with the Denver Broncos and has meetings scheduled with the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs. If the Chiefs make a serious move for Manning, it will likely end their relationship with Matt Cassel, who is due a significant roster bonus if he remains on the 2012 roster, which could add another veteran to the free-agent pool.
The dismantling of the Indianapolis Colts continued, as the team announced that it was releasing veteran TE Dallas Clark, RB Joseph Addai and LB Gary Brackett, following up the decision to cut Manning and allowing veteran WR Reggie Wayne to hit the free-agent market.
In New York, the Giants announced that, after being unable to restructure the contract of RB Brandon Jacobs, he has been cut loose and will become an unrestricted free agent.
We're still three days away from the start of free agency, but the moves have begun and the landscape of the NFL has taken a significant shift as a result.
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.