In a post that I did here a few days ago, I stated that I thought it was a foregone conclusion that the Minnesota Vikings and running back Adrian Peterson had already started discussing Peterson’s contract for the 2017 season. Peterson’s base salary of $11.75 million has to be picked up by the team before the start of the new league year, and he’s due a $6 million roster bonus on 11 March.
According to Ben Goessling of ESPN, Peterson and the Vikings have not, in fact, talked about a contract extension yet. When asked about it at a press conference he held on Thursday, here’s what Rick Spielman had to say about the situation.
"Adrian Peterson has a significant contract coming up. We have to make a decision," Spielman said. "I'm not going to announce anything, but that will get addressed here before free agency starts. The one thing I will say is, if we don't exercise that option, we will always keep the door open on all of our players. But in my mind, regardless if Adrian is here or not here next year -- because of whatever happens -- he will always be a Minnesota Viking. If he's fortunate enough to go in the Hall of Fame, and fortunate enough to go in the [Vikings] Ring of Honor, in my mind, he's a Minnesota Viking."
That’s a pretty classic Rickspeak non-answer. I mean, we know that the issue is going to be addressed before free agency starts, because the Vikings don’t have any other choice. We also know. . .or, at least, can be relatively certain. . .that the Vikings are not going to be picking up Peterson’s base salary or paying him that roster bonus.
I’m not sure if we can totally buy into the supposition that the two sides haven’t spoken. With less than two weeks before the decision on Peterson has to be made, surely the Vikings have reached out to Peterson and his agent at some point. Then again, maybe the Vikings have already made their decision and won’t be bringing Peterson back at all, but that would be just as unlikely.
A bit of a wrinkle was added to this by our friend Tom Pelissero on the Twitter machine earlier today.
Note on Adrian Peterson contract: in 2015 restructure, 2017 converted to option. So, if declined and he leaves, #Vikings could get comp pick— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) February 23, 2017
I had no idea that this was the case. So if the Vikings just let Peterson walk, they could actually get something in compensation for him depending on numerous factors, like what the Vikings do in free agency and what sort of deal Peterson signs with another team. Such is the difference between “declining an option” and “releasing” him, I guess.
If the Vikings are planning on bringing back Adrian Peterson, it sounds like they need to get the party started as far as conversing with his representation. Reportedly, they have not done so.