Dec 1, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) looks on during overtime against the Chicago Bears at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. The Vikings defeated the Bears 23-20 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Adrian Peterson Talks Future With Vikings, Mentions Favre, Manning

There has been talk in recent weeks – mostly idle speculation, a little rumor thrown in for good measure – about the possibility of Adrian Peterson being moved on by the Vikings before his contract expires, either via trade or outright release. Mike Freeman made significant waves when he reported on scuttlebutt from the draft saying the Vikings were looking for ways to get rid of Peterson as soon as possible, in hopes of getting out from under his massive contract.

Despite extreme negative fan reaction to such suggestions, it is perfectly valid to ask whether it makes sense for the Vikings to continue paying the 29-year-old Peterson over $14 million-per-year given the severe downward production trend that inevitably kicks in for running backs as they hit their 30th birthday.

Peterson may just be telling it like he sees it in general, or he may be reacting specifically to the rumors about his own possible departure from Minnesota, but he made some remarks on Monday that indicate he could see himself leaving the Vikings sooner rather than later.

When asked by Adam Schein about his future in Minnesota, Peterson’s words got a tiny bit philosophical and some might even say ominous. “I see myself as a Viking for life,” Peterson said. “But I thought Favre would be a Packer for life….Manning a Colt for life.”

Favre and Manning, as we well know, both went through rather ugly divorces with the organizations they once defined, and both for more-or-less the same reason: they got old and their teams decided they could no longer justify paying them. Favre and Manning also both went on to have great success after leaving their original teams, Favre for one year with the Vikings and now Manning for two years with Denver.

Did Peterson mean to drop a big hint by dropping those particular names? Was he implying that he is feeling a little under-appreciated in Minnesota right now? Is he suggesting that he and the Vikings could be headed toward a bitter parting of ways? And furthermore, is he suggesting that like Favre and Manning, he has a good years left in him beyond his Vikings career?

That could be taken both as a message to us and a warning to the Vikings. Peterson should be mindful however that his situation is not like Favre’s and not like Manning’s. Those guys, being quarterbacks, could perform at a high level after their bodies began showing the signs of age. Peterson, being a running back, will be valuable only so long as he can run fast, make cuts and deliver/absorb punishment.

It’s just not the same for running backs, whose bodies break down faster and who are useless once that break down has begun. Peterson may not have begun breaking down yet, but that downward curve is coming, and the Vikings know it could be coming soon. Peterson may be in denial about that, but the Vikings aren’t.

If the Vikings do move on from Peterson, it won’t be personal, it will be strictly business. It will be strictly an acknowledgement of the realities of nature and economics. Peterson might take it personally, like Favre did in Green Bay and Manning to a lesser extent in Indianapolis, but he really shouldn’t. And neither should the fans.

The end comes for everyone eventually. It sucks to have to think about Adrian Peterson’s end point, but that end point is getting closer. For all we know it could be almost here.

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  • Kyle Segall

    Don’t fully agree with the contention that Favre and Manning were traded/ cut because of finances. For Favre, it was that the Packers were tired of the ‘retire/ unretire’ drama; for Manning, it was an issue of health. And for both the reality that the heir apparent was not only there (Rodgers already on the Packers’ roster, Luck guaranteed for the Colts in the draft) but that the choice had to be made right then about which way they were going to go impacted the decision. (Rodgers’ contract was coming up and he made it clear he wasn’t staying as a backup, and the Colts knew that if they drafted Luck they couldn’t keep Manning.)

    Admittedly looking at QBs and RBs is a very apples-to-oranges comparison regardless. But IMHO, the reality is the Vikings now have their QBOTF on a relatively cheap (especially for a QB) contract that will well outlast Peterson’s, so the issue of $ won’t be as impactful. So long as Peterson remains a major piece of the offense and plays well above average*, the Vikings will likely keep him around.

    *I know that the common storyline is that once RBs hit 30, they decline. I may well be wrong but I could see AD being an exception to this rule. He’s a truly unique athletic specimen, which he proved not only by his phenomenal return from multiple major knee surgeries, but also the fact that Dr. Andrews was reportedly stunned by how healthy his knee otherwise was when he operated on him- indicating that his body had resisted the stress breakdown that should have already well been underway. The concept of a 40yo or even just 35yo AD doing AD things may be a bit ludicrous, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him still a top-3 RB at minimum still in his early 30′s.

    • manbearpig01

      I don’t fully agree that those were the only reasons Favre and Manning were left out. Sure the Packers were tired of Favre, but they knew what they had in Rodgers. Manning’s health was certainly a concern, but they had the opportunity to pick up a huge prospect in Luck. Rodgers and Luck had just as much to do with Favre and Mannings departure, if not more.

  • Pat Barclay

    Both Favre and Manning were abandoned by their teams, not the other way around (they voluntarily left). So Adrian is saying he’s a Viking for life if the Vikes want him…and I would assume, honor the contract they’ve given him and offer him a contract beyond this one.

  • Billy Schwandt

    AP is a freak of nature and will prove the experts wrong and be productive for many more years and hope and cannot wait to see him in the new Stadium!!!!

    • Wilson

      Average age running back, 26, AP 29. Average age backs retire 30. Backs retiring early, Jackson, Sanders, Brown, Davis. AP will be 30 when the Vikes move to new stadium.

  • D.J. Asmus

    You do realize we are taking about THE Adrian Peterson, right. The guy is a freak of nature! Knock on wood, but he will not be affected by age the way any typical running back would. You know this. Period.

    • holymomentumbatman#84

      “…will not be affected the way any typical running back would”. That pretty much sums it all up. No more words need be uttered. Adrian Peterson is EVERYTHING BUT a typical running back. SKOL VIKINGS!!

    • Wilson

      yeap AP. 5th overall rushing. 800 less than he predicted at the beginning of the season. 300 plus less then number one. 3 fumbles, 1 year older and 1 more surgery. yeah that AP. now playing outside on the frozen turf at TCF.

      • D.J. Asmus

        I feel sorry for you, Wilson. I bet you watch movies alone on Friday nights.

        • Wilson

          enjoy the season wish you had the cajones to put money where your mouth is…..

          • D.J. Asmus

            Wilson, I apologize for getting defensive and making the movie remark. Obviously we wont see eye to eye on this. My opinion is that AP is a freak and wont slow down like typical backs and your opinion is pretty much the opposite. I say good day, sir. Skol Vikings!! Barooo!!

          • Wilson

            I want the best for the Vikings as well AP. We are going through rebuilding from the arena,players to all new coaches and staff. We will be taking the field with over 50% new faces.Now you really don’t think we have a chance to reach the Super Bowl this year,right? Next year maybe a playoff, but still chances are slim for Super Bowl bid. Therefore wasting 2 of the last 3 years AP has left, why not give him a chance to go a team that has a chance to win a Super Bowl? We moved from 100-1 odds to 50-1. in this years draft excellent but…..still predicted to finish last this year in our division. I don’t want that, I don’t want to see that, but it’s reality in a rebuilding year. Thank god they decided to rebuild completely this time, not like in the past only doing the minimum. I only wish that at the end of December, you can say to me, you fool, see I told you so!!!

          • Craig Lorenz

            Don’t really agree this is a complete rebuilding year. I’m guessing you say that because we got all new coaching staff and let go of a few older players like Allen and Williams. But when I team starts to rebuild usually they are worse. In my mind if the vikes can make the playoffs two years ago then they can definitely do so this year. It doesn’t take franchises numerous years to rebuild like it used to ( take the chiefs for example). And there’s no guarentee he wins a super bowl no matter where he goes, it’s fans like you that frustrate me because you have the thinking that since the vikes haven’t won a super bowl that they can’t. Not true they can they just need the right players and personnel. This was written by a true Vikings fan SKOL!!!!!!!!!

          • Craig Lorenz

            You are an idiot he had minor injuries all season and still managed a terrific season while looking at 8 or more in the box almost every down. Show me another rb that can put up those numbers with a terrible passing game…..waiting wilson

          • Wilson

            don’t really like to have a discussion with someone who lowers them self to name calling. grow up and come back next year and I’ll more then want to admit I was wrong, we’ll see in December.

  • Jack Hoffman

    The plain truth of the matter is Adrian Peterson sells tickets, he puts butts in seats and the Vikings have no one else on the roster that will do that, trust me he will be a Viking.

    • Wilson

      Good news he will have 14,000 less seats to fill.

  • chance

    The rumor of the Vikings moving on from AP was nonsense considering it came from a AFC executive whom would have no clue what the Vikings were doing or were going to do. I believe the vikings did ask teams about a possible trade for AP but they weren’t just going to give him away, they needed a offer that would blow there minds. I also believe that if the Vikings honored Allen’s monstrous contract that they will honor Peterson’s especially if the cap increases each year.

    • Gordon Guffey

      It being a AFC executive makes all the sense in the world ~ If the Vikings were going to trade AP it would be to a AFC team ~ No way Spielman would want to have to face AP in the playoffs if he does somehow play well till he is 35 ~

      That being said anyone who thinks AP is untouchable is crazy ~ He has been hurt and missed time the last 3 seasons ~ Another hit to either of his knees could finish him off ~ Basically we dont know when his end will come ~ Not one poster on this page has a real clue ~ Its all gut feeling and guess work for anyone to try and pin a date and time on when he has to walk away from the game ~ Hopefully he does play well till he is 35 and he retires a Vikings ~

  • Wilson

    Best for Vikings best for AP is a trade. 1) he is at the end of his prime. 2) the rebuilding Vikings are just beginning and will not be ready for two years. 3) we will be playing outdoors. 4) injuries and his age have taken a toll on him. 5) Allow him to play for a team that is in contention to make the play-offs. least we can do for all he did for us. Favre and Manning are ancient history not even worth making a comment.

    • holymomentumbatman#84

      Dude, you are the one who has hit the wall. With your head. You’ve lost it.

      • Wilson

        Enjoy the 5 maybe 6 wins this year.

        • holymomentumbatman#84

          Yep. You did hit your head. AT LEAST 10-6, 11-5 in 2014. Bank on it.

          • Wilson

            Not with my money. I work too hard to be so foolish. But dream on.