The Sunday pregame shows featured plenty of chatter about: (1) the Vikings wanting running back Adrian Peterson to stay with the team; and (2) the Vikings undoubtedly not wanting to pay him $18 million in 2017.
So what does Peterson want? Per a source with knowledge of Peterson’s thinking, Peterson wants to get healthy and play, as soon as possible.
Two years ago, Peterson had concerns about returning to the Vikings after a 15-game paid-and-unpaid suspension following a prosecution for child abuse. The Vikings held firm, making it clear that they held his rights and intended to have him honor his contract.
In 2017, Peterson will have greater influence over his status, if/when the Vikings approach him about a reduction in his pay. If he refuses to cut his pay, the Vikings will have to cut him, if they don’t want to pay him $18 million.
Peterson likes playing for the Vikings. Whether he will accept a reduced package to stay will be influenced by plenty of factors. For now, his status beyond 2016 is simply not a consideration.
Peterson’s sole focus is to rehab his knee injury following surgery to repair a torn meniscus, and to play again this year. He can return as soon as Week Eleven, and he could find himself on the field with the best Vikings team of his 10-year tenure. Whether he plays, how well he plays, and how far the team goes will surely influence whether he ultimately takes the best deal the Vikings put on the table for 2017 and beyond — and whether he’ll look for something as good or better elsewhere.
Or maybe he’ll look for something not quite as good, if it gives him an opportunity to play with a team that could help Peterson cap his career with a Super Bowl appearance.