On Tuesday, March 13, at 4 p.m. EST, the feeding frenzy known as the NFL free-agent signing period begins, and football fans everywhere will be constantly checking their computers, phones, televisions and tablets to see who has signed where.
For the Minnesota Vikings, like every team in the league, this period can bring both good news and bad news. It's a chance to make your football team a lot better in a short time, but teams must keep in mind that nothing about it is free.
On the one hand, signing on new players is exciting and brings with it the hope of an improved roster, but in the blink of an eye, teams can also suffer the gut punch of losing a player they thought they would certainly re-sign.
For the Vikings, the 2012 free agency period should be a lot more encouraging than discouraging. None of their free agents would be crucial losses, and anyone they sign on would almost certainly be an upgrade over what they had during the 2011 season.
The Vikings opened up a lot of cap room on their roster Saturday by cutting loose veterans Steve Hutchinson, Anthony Herrera and Cedric Griffin, clearing up over $14 million in salary and leaving the team more than $20 million under the expected salary cap for 2012.
With that in mind, here's a look at some of the top free agents the Vikings should go after starting Tuesday afternoon.