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One Way Or Another, Adrian Peterson Return Will Be Story Of The 2015 Offseason

Mike Zimmer had a nice and tidy post-season presser that didn’t make too many waves.

He is proud of what they’ve accomplished.  He wants to see improvement.  He is humble in front of the cameras.  He has a plan to get Cordarrelle Patterson up to snuff.  He respects Chad Greenway.  He’s taking a little time off before getting started on his 2015 preparations.

One of the unavoidable topics brought up, however, is one that will largely shape this offseason for the Minnesota Vikings and greatly impact Zimmer’s plans for 2015.

When asked about the possibility of an Adrian Peterson return next season, Zimmer stated exactly what we would expect him to state.

“Adrian was always great with me. I think he’s a good person,” Zimmer said. “I think obviously he’s a great running back, and if it works out that way and things work out and he gets his life in order — that’s the most important thing, he gets his life in order, he gets the opportunity to come back — then I will be in his corner whatever the decision is made.”

Zimmer then said some words that caught the eye of those expecting an offseason trade.

“I think he would add value to any team, to be honest with you. I think the kid’s a heck of a football player.”

Zimmer later indicated that him and G.M. Rick Spielman have not yet discussed all of the issues surrounding Peterson and a potential return or trade.  If that is true, then Zimmer may not even be in the know about what the organization’s plans for Peterson actually are.

I see the Wilf family as savvy investors by nature and for that reason I think the biggest part of Rick Spielman’s job this offseason will be to get a return on Adrian Peterson.  That return might be in the form of a, well… return.  But, it might also be in the form of draft picks via the trade market.

Peterson is scheduled to make $12.75 million next season and will carry a cap hit of $15.4 million.  He is fairly easy, financially speaking, to part ways with if the team wants that, but don’t expect them to simply cut their losses and release him.  Five months ago he was the organization’s most valuable asset and they would be foolish to sell this particular stock at its lowest.

A pay cut seems like an attractive option to those hoping he stays in Minnesota, but it is unknown if Peterson would be open to decreasing his salary.  It is equally as unknown just what type of package could be offered for a 30 year old Peterson who is no longer one of the NFL’s “good guys.”

According to Spotrac, Peterson is slated to be the highest paid running back in the NFL (not counting any new contracts coming up) and it isn’t really even close.  Peterson clocks in at $12.75 million with LeSean McCoy coming in second with a scheduled salary of $9.75 million.  In third place, and at almost half the price of Peterson, is Chicago’s Matt Forte who will make $6.65 million.

Peterson is scheduled to be the ninth highest-paid player of 2015 and the eight ahead of him are all quarterbacks.

With the situation being what it is, I do find it hard to believe that Peterson stays in Minnesota without taking that pay cut.  If he is traded then it is hard to gauge the potential compensation the Vikings could receive.

In 2010, Buffalo dealt troubled running back Marshawn Lynch to Seattle in exchange for a same-year fourth rounder and a next-year conditional pick (5th rounder).  That was all Seattle had to put together to win a bidding war, which included Green Bay and Philadelphia, and acquire a 24 year old Beast Mode.

Philadelphia was able to get a 30 year old Darren Sproles this last March in exchange for a fifth round draft pick.  Then there was the bogus Trent Richardson to Indianapolis trade that gave Cleveland yet another first round pick to waste.  In recent years, attempts to trade the likes of Steven Jackson and Chris Johnson were unsuccessful by their respective teams.

Peterson is uniquely talented and uniquely “toxic” from a P.R. standpoint.  Rick Spielman, who got the Vikings a first rounder and then some for Percy Harvin two years ago, has his work cut out for him trying to weigh all of the possible options.  For the first time in #28’s career, his translation to draft picks and cap savings might be better value to the Vikings.

One way or another, however, he has to make sure Adrian Peterson makes the 2015 Vikings a better team.

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Adam Warwas

Adam Warwas (Founder) has been writing about the Vikings for a total of eight years. Five of those years have been here at Vikings Territory where he continues to surround himself with enough talented individuals that people keep coming back. As proud as he is of what Vikings Territory has become, his real treasures are in his home... a beautiful wife and three amazing children (and a dog named Percy).

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  1. I remember early on the Vikings were bringing Adrian back and then Spielman had a news conference and said that no he was not coming back. Mr. Spielman looked like a whipped dog. I believe Goodell stepped in and shut the Vikings down from bringing him back. I feel management does want him back and he will be back. That will be one happy day for me!!!!

    1. It wasn’t Spielman who changed his mind ~ It was the sponsors who did drop the Vikings are saying they were going to drop the Vikings if AP came back early in the year ~

      It was all over the local news in Minn. for a few weeks ~ Spielman as usual had nothing to do with the problems the Vikings faced in 2014 ~ Much like Kalil who will have to go under the knife once again this offseason after his knee didn’t recover as quickly as everyone wanted him too ~ And maybe that had to do with Frazier playing him knowing he was hurt for most of 2013 ~

      People needs to do their own research and know buy into many of the posts they read as facts ~

  2. Spielman looked like a whipped dog because our ownership completely hung him out to dry. I don’t believe It was Goodell that caused that part of the mess, the Wilfs didn’t want to pay AD to be a game day inactive. Then the backlash started and they tried to put the ketchup back in the bottle by sending Rick out there unprepared for a bunch of questions they should have known were coming. The league did the teams a favor by offering the exemption list option. It wasn’t until AD reached his plea deal that Goodell messed this deal up. And lets be honest here, the guy who is responsible for this situation isn’t Goodell, the Wilf’s, or Spielman, it’s Adrian Peterson who thought it was perfectly fine for a 220 lb grown man who lives in the public eye to beat a 4 year old child with a stick in the 21st century. Adrian put himself in this situation, I’m just disappointed that between his legal team, the league, and the Vikings they weren’t able to come to the obvious solution of turning him into the biggest advocate against child abuse humanly possible. Instead he’s looking like the poster boy for the NFL vs the Players Association battle which could drag this thing out even longer.

    1. That was the obvious solution, as many here on this site, and Daily Norseman, and frankly every vikings blog of which I am aware were saying at the time. I mean no denigration of the perspicuity of viking blog-commenters, but that approach was the smart approach, but not a stroke of genius. Why, then, did that not happen? Was the Viking organization, or AP’s attorney, or the NFL league office that stupid, that they could not figure it out the way numerous people in the fan base did? Or was it AP himself, who at the very time when it was important to get it right, think he did no wrong? But his tweet to the child’s mother suggests he did know she would ‘be mad’.

      Going forward: if we are going to trade Peterson, then we have to draft an RB: it would be nice to get one who can block and catch as well as run. No decent NFL team is without a serious running game.

      DE’s are plentiful in this draft and I am a firm believer in buying cheap and selling dear. Moreover Robison is getting old and slow.
      We need to draft 2 linemen on offense, for depth if nothing else. Maybe a reliable and even formidable TE so we can really do 2-TE packages. That, or get a tall reliable target WR for the red zone.

  3. Before the season started, I was really excited to see how A. Peterson would look in Norv’s new offense. Many fans wanted to see a trade last offseason, but I had high hopes for him producing a MVP like season.

    Boy, was I disappointed.

    Anyway, this year I will be jumping on the trade Peterson band wagon if I can find a seat.

    This running back draft class is deep. Duke Johnson from Miami or Tevin Coleman from Indiana are a couple of high round RBs that are explosive runner but also very good in the passing game.

    McKinnon and Asiata were over achievers in my opinion this season for the Vikings, so a Peterson trade while picking up a dynamic back in the second round of the draft would be ok by this die-hard Peterson fan.

    1. There are 3 running backs from the Missouri Valley Conference that will be very good running backs in the NFL. There are a lot of running back choices.

  4. i’d like to see AD take a pay cut and stay. i think taking the cut might even help restore some of his reputation a little, and look like some type of contrition, but my gut tells me they will move on from him

    the vikes should ask AD to reduce his salary because he’s over-paid for a RB, about to turn 30 years old, and now has a tainted reputation. if he refuses, the vikes might just keep him, looking like they’ll pay him next year, kind of like how they treated jared allen last year, let his reputation ‘heal’ a little, with the idea to see if he has a big year. his ‘stock’, or desirability and value, might increase, but it’d be somewhat limited by his age. once this thing settles down some, then maybe see what happens. we might find a more willing trade partner emerge and get more in return for him

  5. Nice article Adam. I’d like to see AD stick around. What he did was reprehensible and like Dan T. said, the aftermath was handled about as poorly as could be imagined.
    AD should have immediately recognized his stupid mistake, owned up to it and donated a couple of Million to child abuse awareness (Call it the “AD, I switched my mind” foundation)

    Now, what needs to be done is have AD remain a Viking, cut his salary in half, the Wilfs take that money and donate it to the newly formed “AD, I switched” foundation. (Or some other worthy cause)
    Then go out and win the Super Bowl next year.

  6. Keep AD. Do it, and watch us win 11-12 games, maybe a 1st round bye. Without him…9-10 and IF in the post season, going on the road.

    1. Cart, agree about 11-12 with AD but I don’t think we’ll touch 9-10 wins without a stout running game. I don’t believe McKinnon and for sure Asiata are even close to what we will need to make up for losing AD. If he’s gone, we MUST pick up a stellar RB in FA or draft one in the first or second.

      1. have you guys looked at who we play next season? to lose only 4 or 5 games would be a huge jump, mongo huge

    2. Can you imagine what Teddy could do with 9 in the box trying to stop AD? I think it would be a thing of beauty.

      1. I was all set for that scenario THIS year!
        Seeing what Teddy did after all the trouble this team had, tells me he will tear it up next season if he has a running game.

  7. this doug marrone thing is hilarious. he walks away with an extra $4 million and it won’t be deducted against his salary if he coaches another team this year

    1. OTOH step twice on your divisions best opponent’s QB’s leg and you pay 70K and still play the playoff game. How cool is that?
      Wasn’t it also Suh who almost destroyed Loeffler last year?

  8. Mizzou’s punter looks a lot better than Locke: putting it right at the goal line for 53 yards, the other high one for 57 yards.