Work in the 2012 season is done. But work for 2013 has only begun. The NFL calendar and news cycle does not slow down in the offseason, so we’ve decided to keep a running account of what to expect as the weeks and months progress to keep you up-to-date.
There are events not listed below that will happen, such as the launch of Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and the mandatory minicamp(s). Either those dates haven’t been confirmed or it’s not time to announce them, but at the appropriate time we’ll update this list and make it available to you.
January 19 East-West Shrine Game, Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida
This year’s East-West Shrine Game is the 88th annual and will be broadcast on NFL Network, with kickoff slated for 3:00 p.m. CT this Saturday. The East-West Shrine game is a college all-star game that pits top players from the East vs. top players from the west. The game – and the practice sessions before it – attract dozens of NFL scouts. All proceeds from the game benefit Shriners Hospitals for Children®.
January 26 Senior Bowl, Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Alabama
Another of the many college all-star games, the Senior Bowl down in Mobile is a well-regarded event within NFL circles. This is where the Vikings developed their interest in Harrison Smith a year ago, and it’s also where other current Vikings such as Audie Cole and Christian Ponder performed in front of Vikings coaches and scouts. Seattle QB Russell Wilson, a top candidate for rookie of the year honors, starred in this game last year for the Leslie Frazier-coached North team.
I will head to Mobile on Monday, January 21 to launch VEN coverage of the event.
February 2 Texas vs. Nation College All-Star Game, Eagle Stadium, Allen, Texas
The college all-star game tour continues in Texas with the annual Texas vs. Nation game. Just as is the case with the East-West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl, it’s the practices even more than the game that attracts dozens of NFL coaches and scouts.
February 3 Super Bowl XLVII, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
February 4 Waiver system begins for 2013
A 24-hour claiming period will be in effect through the Friday prior to the last regular season game. Players with at least 4 previous pension-credited seasons that a club desires to terminate are not subject to the waiver system until after the trading deadline.
February 20-26 Scouting Combine, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana
An event that has been vital to NFL operations for many years and has grown exponentially in popularity among fans, the Scouting Combine is where the country’s top draft-eligible players are timed, tested and interviewed by coaches and scouts from all 32 NFL teams in what many would describe as the final major pre-draft preparation event (regional Combines and pro days occur after the national Combine).
I will head to Indianapolis on Tuesday, February 19 to launch VEN coverage of the event.
March 12 2013 League Year and Free Agency Period Begin at 3:00 p.m., Minnesota time
— All 2012 player contracts will expire.
— Trading period begins at 3:00 p.m., Minnesota time, for 2013 after expiration of all 2012 contracts.
— All clubs must be under the Salary Cap (top 51 players count against cap at this point).
— Clubs must submit Qualifying Offers to their Restricted Free Agents with expiring contracts and to whom they desire to retain a Right of First Refusal/Compensation.
— Clubs must exercise options for 2013 on all players who have option clauses in their 2012 contracts.
— Clubs must submit a minimum salary offer to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2012 contracts and who have fewer than 3 seasons of free agency credit.
March 17-20 Annual League Meeting, Phoenix, Arizona
NFL owners and front office personnel gather for one of their annual meetings. This is where some rules changes for the following season emerge.
April 22 Launch of the Vikings Offseason Program
Players will return to Winter Park for the launch of the Vikings offseason program. We’ll have more details on the offseason program at a later date.
April 25-27 Annual Player Selection Meeting, New York City, New York
The most popular offseason event the NFL has to offer – the NFL draft – takes place in New York City, as the next class of NFL stars is born.
May 20-22 NFL Spring League Meeting, Boston, Massachusetts
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