After more than four months of negotiations, it appears that the National Football League lockout could be coming to an end in the next 48 hours. If everything goes the way things are expected, here is what the next few days will look like.
Today (July 20) - The NFLPA* is currently discussing the proposed Collective Bargaining Agreement, and they are expected to take a vote on it as well. There are no indicators to this point that it will not pass, so barring anything strange, half the job should be done by close of business today.
July 21 - The NFL owners will meet in Atlanta, and they will vote on the CBA as well. If 3/4 of the owners vote in favor of the proposal, then it will become official and the lockout will come to an end.
July 22 - NFL players will officially be able to report to their team facilities, meet with coaches, and get medical treatment from team staff. On this date, officials from the NFL teams will be given a course to get them familiar with the new CBA rules and what they mean for their teams. They will then have three days to get familiar with everything.
July 25 - A three-day window will open for teams to negotiate with and attempt to sign their own free agents. For the Minnesota Vikings, this will be crucial to whether or not the team will be able to retain wide receiver Sidney Rice. Defensive end Ray Edwards, who is also a free agent, appears to have one foot out the door already, but there is hope for the retention of Rice.
This will also be the time that teams will be able to sign undrafted college free agents, so that's something else for Viking fans to keep an eye on.
July 28 - The exclusive negotiation window will close, and you will see the start of the biggest free agency free-for-all the National Football League has ever seen.
July 31 - Vikings players are expected to report for Training Camp. . .which, to the best of our knowledge, is still being held on the campus of Minnesota State University in Mankato.
August 1 - The Vikings will hold their first practice of training camp.
The action will be happening fast and furious once things have settled, folks, so be sure to keep your eyes here and on The Daily Norseman (at the same time, if possible) for any breaking news that might happen.