The NFL free agency period begins on March 12, and while it's highly unlikely that the Minnesota Vikings will spend lavishly to bring in big names to bolster their roster, the Vikings brass will have to open up their pocket books to keep several key players in the fold.
The Vikings held exit interviews for the 2012 season this week and then scattered to wherever they call home in the offseason. The Vikings have 16 players off of last year's roster who can become free agents.
Vikings general manager Rick Spielman's M.O. has always been to build the team through the draft and then to nurture those players in the Minnesota system. The Vikings will sign their share of free agents, but most of the main pieces on the roster are home grown.
The Vikings will have several tough decisions to make when it comes to which of their own players they want to keep and which players they will allow to walk.
We take a look at the seven most important players the Minnesota Vikings have to re-sign this offseason to continue to progress toward being legitimate contenders.