On Tuesday, the Minnesota Vikings decided to forgo the option on Adrian Peterson’s 2017 contract. By declining to pick up his option, the Vikings will save themselves an $18 million cap hit; money that can be better spent elsewhere — such as upgrading one the NFL’s worst offensive lines. Peterson is now due to become an unrestricted free agent when the market opens on March 9th.
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Peterson, who was the seventh overall pick in the 2007 draft, is the leading rusher in Vikings’ franchise history and easily the best running back to ever don the purple and gold. During his 10 seasons in Minnesota, Peterson has amassed 11,747 yards on the ground while crossing the goal line 97 times. He led the league in rushing in 2015 with 1,485 rushing yards and in 2012, a year removed from major knee surgery, he received league MVP honors for his 2,097 rushing-yard season performance.
On the wrong side of 30, Peterson has struggled to stay on the field in recent years. He has played just one full season over the last three and has failed to rush for more than 75 yards in two of those seasons. In 2016, he appeared in just three games, rushing for 72 yards on 37 carries as an MCL injury hijacked the majority of his season.
His time in Minnesota may not be over yet, as the aging back has expressed an interest to finish his career with the Vikings. For that to happen both sides would have to agree on a new contract at a much lower price; one that is closer to his perceived value.