After the Minnesota Vikings finished the season with a surprising record considering all that happened on and off the field for the organization in 2014, the team began looking at 2015 with an optimistic look.

As they prepare for 2015 and they continue to hope that they will improve, here is a look at some of the key off-seaon dates coming up from Ben Goessling of

Monday: Teams can officially release players; players with fewer than four accrued seasons will be subject to the waiver system.

Friday: U.S. District Court judge David Doty is scheduled to hear 30-minute arguments from both the NFL Players Association and the league in the NFLPA's lawsuit to get Adrian Peterson reinstated. It's unclear how soon Doty would make a ruling, but the lawsuit represents Peterson's best chance to be reinstated before April 15.

Feb. 10: Teams can sign players who had expiring contracts in the Canadian Football League. Former Montreal Alouettes receiver Duron Carter, who had been offered a contract by the Vikings, is expected to sign with the Indianapolis Colts.

Feb. 16: Teams can begin using the franchise or transition tags. Don't expect to see any activity from the Vikings on this front.

Feb. 17-23: The NFL Scouting Combine takes place in Indianapolis. This is where clubs get workout numbers on most of the players eligible for the 2015 draft, and spend ample time meeting with draft hopefuls. Preliminary contract talks with representatives of unrestricted free agents often pick up here, as well.

You can check out more key dates coming up for the Vikings through the end of July in Ben's story on