Adrian Peterson has restructured the last three years of his contract with the Minnesota Vikings, a deal that will reportedly include $20 million in guaranteed money.
That’s not a typical arrangement for a 30-year-old running back, and yet, this outcome was more or less expected.
“I wasn’t really surprised,” Minneapolis Star Tribune Vikings beat reporter Matt Vensel said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “The timing was a little bit surprising that it happened this quickly, but I think when Adrian came back and the timing of when he came back was significant. A couple months ago, I thought we’d be talking this time of year about whether or not Adrian was going to show up for the first day of camp. But he and his agent decided to have him come back to the Vikings early. He was there for most of the spring workout program, and I think that was kind of a peace offering there and it was a sign that maybe these two sides were going to be able to figure something out. He got the guaranteed money he wanted beyond this year, so he has that security. From the Vikings’ standpoint, they were going to potentially be right back in this situation again next offseason, so it makes sense for them to get it done, too.”
Under his new deal, Peterson is guaranteed $13 million in 2015 and $7 million in 2016. He also has a $5 million roster bonus due in March 2016.
“There’s still a chance they could turn around and cut him if things fall apart or the relationship turns sour again, but that guaranteed money basically ensures he’s going to be here through 2016,” Vensel said. “It gives him that peace of mind. I’d be surprised if he played out that final year at that figure in 2017. He’ll probably have to come back to the table then, but at least it gives him that short-term security he was looking for, and (it makes) sure the Vikings don’t have a disgruntled player on their hands.”
In some ways, it’s incredible that Peterson and the Vikings are where they are. Just a few short months ago, it seemed each side wanted nothing to do with the other.
“Yeah, it’s been a crazy deal,” Vensel said. “I think the potential showdown was looming on the contract regardless before the season. I think heading into the year, I think people thought, ‘Okay, this deal is going to need to be redone. He’s going to want that guaranteed money.’ But with everything that happened – with him being charged with child abuse, the organization welcoming him back after he missed a game and they got slammed on it, corporate sponsors threatened to pull out – they got real mum on Adrian until the season was done, but they made the decision then and there we’re going to have to come back. You saw ownership come out. Rick Spielman, Mike Zimmer – they all came out as an organization and said they wanted him back. So it really just was Adrian getting that comfort level.”
That wasn’t easy.
“I know he did have some reservations about coming back here,” Vensel said. “Even the governor wanted him to be suspended last year, so he didn’t really feel loved here by the fans and things like that. But I think all along the elephant in the room was money. It’s just that all that other stuff complicates matters. But there might have been a showdown regardless just based on the fact that he has these ballooning salary cap figures – or had, I should say – and he didn’t have any guaranteed money.”
Peterson’s return wasn’t completely without controversy, as Radisson pulled its sponsorship with the Vikings.
Not that the organization will lose too much sleep over that or anything.
“Sponsors will come back,” Vensel said. “It’s the NFL. They’ll be making money in no time and making money off his image as well probably too.”