Over the course of his seven-year career in Minnesota, which has been filled with ups-and-downs, we've never really heard running back Adrian Peterson complain in a public manner. He didn't complain when his rookie contract was coming due, and he hasn't really had anything negative to say about the franchise that drafted him #7 overall in the 2007 NFL Draft.
But, according to a story from ESPN's Ben Goessling, that doesn't necessarily mean that Peterson has been happy. . .and at the end of last season, he apparently was not.
"I wasn't happy. I wasn't feeling good about being here in Minnesota at the end of last season," Peterson said in a wide-ranging interview with ESPN on Thursday. "Coaches change, but everything was shaken up.
"That changed when these guys came in, and draft picks and different things like that. [I] bought back in, and I'll let it ride out."
Well, that's not necessarily how you want the face of your franchise to be feeling.
According to Goessling's article, however, a few things have gotten Peterson to "buy back in" to what's happening in Minnesota. Among those things are the hiring of Mike Zimmer as head coach and the selection of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in the 2014 NFL Draft.
There has been speculation that this could be Peterson's last year in Minnesota. He's scheduled to have a cap hit of around $14.4 million this season, and that number goes up to $15.4 million in 2015, $15 million in 2016, and a whopping $17 million in 2017, according to Over the Cap. The Vikings could cut Peterson with a hit of only $2.4 million in dead money if they cut him before the 2015 season, and with no dead money if they cut him in either 2016 or 2017.
In many situations, that number could be prohibitive, but with Bridgewater potentially ready to lead the team this year and through the rest of Peterson's deal, the Vikings could adopt something similar to the Seattle Seahawks' strategy of paying a lot of other people while you still have a quarterback on the cheap. . .particularly if Bridgewater can blossom in the same way that Russell Wilson has. If the salary cap increases the way it's projected to. . .the cap could increase to $140 million next season and $150 million leading up to the 2016 season. . .a contract like Peterson's wouldn't necessarily be a killer.
As long as he continues producing at a high level.
We all know better than to bet against Adrian Peterson, particularly after what he did in his MVP-winning 2012 campaign. If he believes he's going to continue producing, then I'm not going to start betting against him now. Hopefully he'll continue producing to the point where the idea of cutting him seems silly, regardless of how much money he's scheduled to be paid.