Adrian Peterson has been one of the best running backs in the league during his tenure in the NFL. His unique use of power, speed, and vision has helped him contribute to a Vikings franchise that has leaned on him over the years. But, after tearing his meniscus in Week 2 of the 2016 season, Peterson was beginning to show his body becoming weaker. Off the field issues with his child abuse case also played a big part of his career as he was suspended for the 2014 season.
Today, the Vikings declined the $17 million option on Peterson which will make him an unrestricted free agent. This comes to be a surprise by many as Peterson is still one of the best running backs in the league when healthy. Many teams will be interested in the 31-year-old and it is just a matter of where he will end up.
On the Vikings side of things, cutting ties with Peterson leaves the team with a hole at the running back position. They currently have running backs Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon under contract for 2017, which gives fans a sense of what their plans are during free agency or the draft. The release of Peterson also gives the team more cap room, as the $17 million won’t be on the team’s books heading into the 2017 season.
It is a strange day for Vikings fans after their franchise player is on the market for the first time in his career. Although they are losing one of their best players, the team’s focus is on the future rather than the present team. With quality playmakers still available in free agency and the draft, the Vikings are still in good position to compete in the competitive NFC North.