So why did the Vikings announce on Tuesday that they won’t be keeping running back Adrian Peterson? They didn’t have to. They chose to.
The Vikings are not cutting Peterson. The team held an option for 2017, and the team opted not to exercise it. (This means that, if he signs with another team before May 11, his departure will count in Minnesota’s favor under the 2018 compensatory draft-pick formula.)
The deadline, per a source with knowledge of the situation, was the start of the new league year, on Thursday, March 9. By making an announcement now, the Vikings have given Peterson a full and fair opportunity to shop himself during the inevitable tampering period that precedes next week’s legal tampering period, which commences on Tuesday, March 7.
So the Vikings did Peterson a favor. It’s possibly a goodwill gesture as Peterson gauges the market and assesses whether it makes sense to change teams at this stage of his career. Indeed, if Peterson is upset with the Vikings, it won’t be and can’t be a result of the team’s decision to give him a clear path to free agency, given that they could have squatted on him until next Thursday.
The Vikings also did themselves a favor. As coach Mike Zimmer and G.M. Rick Spielman prepare to speak to the media in Indianapolis (they will separately join PFT Live), they won’t be badgered by jerkwads like me about their plans for Peterson.
I guess this jerkwad will need to find something else to badger them about. I’ve got time to come up with something.