New daddy Adrian Peterson is back in camp and ready to get down to the business of preparing for the 2011 season, his fifth in Viking purple. Reporters swarmed Peterson the second he became available and bombarded him with questions, mostly about his contract which expires at the end of the year. Peterson’s replies were largely non-committal.
“I’m going to sit back and let the chips fall where they may,” Peterson said when asked about his future with the team. ”The only thing I can do is control what I can control and that’s coming out and making sure that I’m prepared, making sure that I’m doing everything I can do to help this team win. That’s been my focus for four years and this fifth year is going to be the same.”
There has been talk that the Vikings might try to extend Peterson’s contract before it runs out, and that certainly may still happen, but from Peterson’s comments it doesn’t sound like he’s all that eager to get that extension done. It could be that Peterson is simply too chill to worry about such things. Or it could be that AD would actually prefer letting the contract expire so he can test the open market.
Going through this last season without an extension and hitting the market could be a huge gamble for Peterson. Running backs get hurt a lot anyway, and Peterson always puts himself in more danger of injury than most due to his violent running style. That being the case, it would seem Peterson would want to get locked up as soon as possible, bank his guaranteed money and know he will be set even if the unthinkable happens.
Then again maybe Peterson has motivations beyond just money. It could be that Peterson is miffed with the organization over their perceived ill-treatment of his friend Sidney Rice, and as a result might prefer playing out the rest of his career in a different uniform.
If Peterson is angry about the team losing Rice, all we can hope is that the feeling fades quickly and rational thought comes flooding in. The sensible thing for AD would be to work out an extension with the Vikings, a team that is building its entire offense around him, and continue on his path toward becoming one of the true legends of Minnesota sports.
Who knows what’s really in Peterson’s mind. I do know that his comments are bound to fuel lots of speculation. Already many people have advocated for trading Peterson before he can leave in free agency, and AD’s vague hints about testing the market will only rekindle these discussions. However, after trading for Donovan McNabb – a sure sign the team means to make a playoff run in 2011 – it would make zero sense to turn around and trade away your #1 offensive weapon.
The best thing for now is to put all our concerns about Adrian’s future out of our minds and just get revved for the season. Whatever Peterson’s contract situation happens to be, we know he will give full effort on the field. Peterson simply doesn’t know how to give less than 100%. He will be out there trucking fools every Sunday, and when the season’s over, in AD’s words, let the chips fall where they may.