In the comes as no surprise category the Vikings will not pick up an $18 million option on star running back Adrian Peterson, making him a free agent in 2017. Peterson, who is a hall of fame running back, missed 13 games last season with an injury and only ran for 1.9 yards per carry. He will be 32 this year but carries enough name value to where a market should develop for him.
Peterson is not eligible to sign with another team until the start of free agency on March 9. He can still negotiate a contract with the Vikings so that he can remain in Minnesota. My feeling is that Peterson can still earn up to $6 million for next year with a chance for more in incentives if enough teams think he can still play at a high level. The most recent high water mark for a player like Peterson was probably Steven Jackson who signed for around $5 million a few years ago with the Falcons.
Peterson was very good in 2015 running for 1,485 yards, but running backs sometimes fall off a cliff and many teams may not read much into that number. Peterson is probably best suited for a team where he could be part of a two pronged attack such as would be the case in Houston or even Seattle. The Giants would be an intriguing option if they saw him as a full time player while the Cowboys are also supposedly interested, though I am not sure how that would benefit the team given their current strengths.
We currently estimate the Vikings to have between $38 and $39 million in cap room following the departure of Peterson from the team.