The Minnesota Vikings announced today that they have declined their 2017 contract option on running back Adrian Peterson, making him an unrestricted free agent.
Had the Vikings exercised the option, they would’ve been required to pay him $18 million in 2017, which would’ve made him the highest paid running back in the league. While Peterson’s base salary was $11.7 million under his last deal, a roster and workout bonus would’ve boosted the salary to the $18 million price tag.
With becoming a free agent, Peterson will ultimately consider all his option while holding no grudges against the Vikings for declining the option – which was the right football decision. Peterson knows he won’t be given $18 million a year on the open market, and he plans to hold discussions with the Vikings about a contract.
“It’s been a great 10 years with the Minnesota Vikings,” Peterson said, per ESPN’s Josina Anderson. “They know what I bring to the organization as a player, with my work ethic and dedication. I spoke with Rick Spielman this past weekend. The door is still open to find some common ground. I understand addressing the offensive line is one of their main priorities this offseason. In the meantime, I will explore my other options and see what path God leads me on. My main goal remains the same: to win a Super Bowl championship with a great team, which I also believe we have in Minnesota.”
Minnesota’s season started off promising, as the Vikings were at one point the NFL’s only undefeated team at 5-0 even after Peterson went down in Week 2 after a knee injury sustained versus the Green Bay Packers. Peterson’s injury and Teddy Bridgewater’s injury ended up showing after the hot streak, however, and the Vikings missed the playoffs.
There are doubts as to whether or not Bridgewater will play again, but Sam Bradford put together a good season for the Vikings despite the team overall struggling that could be appealing to Peterson if he were to return. The question remains what can Peterson offer back in return for the Vikings, and any NFL team if they were to sign him.
Even before his knee injury, Peterson struggled severely, rushing for just 41 yards on 18 carries in his first two games combined. When he returned from the knee injury in December versus the Tennessee Titans, the struggles continued. Peterson only rushed for 31 yards on 19 carries that game, and did not play in another game last season.
Sure, the Vikings have offensive line problems, but Peterson’s performance and health issues last season will surely cost him on the open market this year. Peterson will have a long list of suitors in free agency still, as the Oakland Raiders, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks, New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and many other teams could make a play for the 7-time Pro Bowler.
It is unclear how much money Peterson will land annually on his next contract, but one thing can be drawn out of this entire situation – Peterson will likely not receive a deal longer than three years. There is a good chance for a two-year deal, but even that deal would include some non-guaranteed money.
For his career, Peterson has 11,747 yards on 2,418 carries and 102 total touchdowns.
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