We’re about two weeks away from when the Minnesota Vikings have to make their big decision on running back Adrian Peterson and what to do about his $11.75 million base salary (and subsequent $6 million roster bonus) before the 2017 NFL league year gets underway. I’ll spoil the obvious for you. . .the Vikings won’t be picking up that base salary, and likely won’t be paying out the roster bonus, either, because nearly $18 million for a 31-year old running back in today’s NFL is absolutely ridiculous.
The question then becomes whether or not the Vikings bring him back with a (greatly) reduced salary, or if they completely cut ties with Peterson and let him sign somewhere else. At least one prominent source is suggesting that if Peterson does get to test the free agency waters, he likely isn’t going to find a whole lot out there.
Jason LaCanfora of CBS Sports spoke about Peterson the other day, and had this to say about what he’s learned about Peterson’s potential value.
Teams want to go young and cheap by and large at running back. There would be natural questions about Peterson’s willingness to be a backup on a good team (getting maybe 5-10 touches a game) and questions about his durability if he had to be a bell cow on a bad team. Several GMs I’ve talked to who have watched his film expressed real concerns about where he is at this stage in his career, and wondered if he would really be willing to play on a one-year, $5 million deal with incentives if that’s what the market bears.
One year at $5 million would be an awfully far cry from the $18 million that he’s set to receive this year under his current contract, or the $12 million he got this past season. If that’s all that’s out there, would Peterson be willing to accept it? If the Vikings were to offer a pay cut that drops him down that far, would he take that deal?
The fact that Peterson appears to be doing some flirting with other possibilities on social media suggests that he might not.
The Giants been making some interesting moves.— Adrian Peterson (@AdrianPeterson) February 16, 2017
This appears to be the social media equivalent of sitting at dinner with your wife and saying, “Wow, our waitress sure is hot, isn’t she?” I’m not sure if Peterson is already starting to read the writing on the wall (since talks have no doubt been ongoing already), but I’m not sure if this is the sort of thing you’d put out there if you thought there was any chance that you were coming back to Minnesota.
While it only takes one team to lose their minds and offer a contract that’s of significantly higher value than what a 31-year old Adrian Peterson is worth, it doesn’t appear as though there’s going to be a whole lot of market out there for the former MVP, and he might not have as much of a choice of where he wants to play as he might think. However it ends, it’s going to be resolved one way or the other in a couple of weeks.