While it may appear that the Vikings are set with their roster for the 2014 season, a quirk in the collective bargaining agreement and how it pertains to the 2015 draft could make early June interesting for the Vikings and the other 31 NFL teams.
The CBA is a voluminous document that spells out the requirements of franchises and players. Among them is a formula used to compensate teams that lose more valued free agents than they sign. In some cases, that disparity is significant, which is why some teams get compensatory draft picks as high as the third round and the seventh round is by far the longest round of the draft because there are so many.
While the 2014 draft was seven rounds in length, it was actually an eight-round draft because there were 32 compensatory picks handed out to teams based on the formula devised to equate the value of free agents signed compared to those that were lost.
However, a loophole in the system exists that veteran free agents signed by teams after June 1 are not subject to the compensatory pick formula. If the Vikings were to sign a remaining veteran free agent this week, it would count against the spot in the compensatory draft pick formula. If they wait until next Sunday, any pickups they make wouldn't count against them under the rules of compensatory pick apportionment.
Although it is unlikely the Vikings will be aggressive in this secondary market because they seem to be the type of franchise that makes an early run at free agents they are interested in and then effectively shut down the process of adding players from other teams. Others are much more aggressive – a team like New England is a prime example of a franchise that signs veteran players nearing the end of their careers to short-term, team-friendly deals with the hope that they could potentially cap off their careers with a Super Bowl ring.
It may look like free agency is over and that the rosters teams currently have will be the rosters they will roll into training camp two months from now. But don't be surprised if there is a minor flurry of activity next week because the players signed after June 1 won't county against the signing team and won't benefit the team that loses him under the compensatory pick formula.
With players like DT Kevin Williams, CB Asante Samuel, WR Santonio Holmes, TEs Jermichael Finley and Dustin Keller, and guards Davin Joseph and Mike Brisiel, along with dozens of others still available on the open market, don't assume their careers are necessarily over … yet.
Some teams may simply be waiting for June 1 to come along so they can maximize their own chances of landing compensatory picks.
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.
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