Okay, it's time to put an end to this right now. Mike Freeman, over at Bleacher Report, posted this little tidbit a couple days ago. With all the draft talk, I missed it, so thanks to Derek Wetmore at 1500 ESPN for posting this a little while ago.
Freeman says...well, here. Read it for yourself:
The Vikings are looking for ways to part with superstar runner Adrian Peterson sooner rather than later. Peterson is 29 and when backs hit 30, their production usually drops off precipitously. Backs age in dog years, and despite Peterson's adamantium bone structure, he isn't impervious to aging. The contract situation is also brutal. Peterson will receive a base salary of $11.75 million in 2014, then $12.75 million in 2015. In 2017, it will climb to $15.75 million.
That is simply an impossible salary structure to pay a player in today's game, where the running back position has been greatly devalued.
"My person opinion," said one AFC general manager, "is this (coming) season will be Peterson's last with the Vikings. Despite the cap hit, they'll make some sort of move to get him off the roster."
Sigh...we've now hit the 'Vikings are looking to trade/release Adrian Peterson' part of the off season, and this is something I would expect to see happen more and more with each passing year. I understand the thinking, and yes, Peterson's contract numbers are daunting, but let's put this in perspective a bit.
For one, the Vikings have arguably the best capologist in the business in Rob Brzezinski, and regardless of who the player is, and what the contract numbers are, it's going to be one that fits into the team's structure, and it won't break the bank.
Secondly, it's not outside the realm of possibility for the Vikings to let AP play out the contract, as long as he remains productive. Jared Allen ($17 million in 2013), who had a couple of really big salaries on the back end of his deal, played out his contract and left via free agency. Granted, Allen's deal in that contract was $73 million, and Peterson's is $100 million.
Finally...it's Adrian Peterson, man. Freeman argues that the running back position has been devalued in today's NFL, and I agree. Most running backs are a dime a dozen anymore, and a running back wasn't selected until the 55th pick, the latest ever for that position.
Peterson isn't a dime a dozen running back; he's the face of the franchise, and the offense will still, in a big way, go through him. And I would argue that now that he has what many people feel is a legitimate quarterback, the Vikings will finally be able to ease the load on him, prolonging his career and keeping him fresher as he ages.
There is an exception to every rule, and you're looking at it in this case. If Peterson stays healthy and productive, and there's no reason to think he can't, he's going to be with the Vikings for awhile.