Mauer, Griffen top highest-paid Minnesota athletes list

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Twins first baseman Joe Mauer and Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen are No. 1 and No. 2 on the Business Journal's latest annual list of the highest-paid athletes in Minnesota.

Mauer, a three-time American League batting champ and 2009 AL MVP, is earning $23 million in 2014, while Griffen's 2014 salary is $12.9 million.

Signed by the Vikings to a new, five-year free-agent deal in March for $42.5 million with $20 million guaranteed, Griffen is expected to make $27 million in the first three years of the contract, the Star Tribune said.

Coming in at No. 3 and No. 4 on the Business Journal list are Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic with a salary this year of $12.1 million, and Twins starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco with $12 million.

Beleaguered Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is No. 5 on the list with a 2014 salary of $11.75 million.

Peterson is continuing to earn his salary while on the NFL's exempt/commissioner’s permission list, which forces him to stay away from the team until the felony child-abuse charges he’s facing in Montgomery County, Texas, are resolved.

While Mauer's $23 million this year far out-distances other Minnesota athletes, he's not the highest-paid Minnesota athlete in a single year in the past decade. The Business Journal says former Timberwolves star Kevin Garnett earned $28 million 10 years ago.

According to Forbes, the highest-paid athlete in the world this year is boxer Floyd Maywether, whose salary/winnings total $105 million.

Rounding out Forbes' top five are Portugal and Real Madrid soccer player Christiano Ronaldo ($52 million in salary/winnings, $28 million in endorsements); Cleveland Cavaliers small forward Lebron James ($19.3 million in salary/winnings, $53 million in endorsements); Barcelona soccer player Lionel Messi ($41.7 million in salary/winnings, $23 million in endorsements); and Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant ($30.5 million in salary/winnings, $31 million in endorsements).

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Related

Who are Minnesota's highest paid athletes?

The Business Journal has compiled a list of the state's highest paid athletes. We all know that Joe Mauer is No. 1, but the next six on the list might surprise you. For the record, if you want your kid to get rich playing sports -- get him to the batting cages.