Adrian Peterson is the face of the Minnesota Vikings' franchise, but is his future with the Vikings as clear as the $100 million contract he signed through the 2017 season might lead one to believe?
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk believes Peterson's future in Minnesota is "getting murkier" because, to him, the logic of decreasing Peterson's workload as he gets older while paying him a bigger salary every year between now and 2017 doesn't make a lot of sense.
But how much longer can the Vikings afford to pay eight figures to a guy who plays a position with a value that has been plummeting? Peterson will receive a base salary of $11.75 million in 2014. Next year, it moves to $12.75 million. Then, it climbs to $14.75 million. By 2017, Peterson will make $15.75 million.
Part of Florio's logic derives from the fact that new Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner has built a career in the NFL around a strong passing game. Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman recently told the Pioneer Press that Peterson is "getting to the point where you don’t have to give him the ball 50 times a game for 16 games."
However, Turner may not decide to cut Peterson's workload outright. Turner has a history of using running backs in the passing game, with San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson being a prime example. Peterson has never been utilized as a pass-catcher out of the backfield, but he believes that he'll see a big increase in receptions this season.
“I’ve caught a lot of passes,” Peterson recently said to FOX Sports North. “I just haven’t had an offense that really distributes the ball to the running back a lot. That will change, for sure.”
NFL contracts are not guaranteed, so it's possible the Vikings could cut ties with Peterson at any point. Is Florio's speculation that the "end is coming" on par with reality? Who knows, but maybe it's something to keep an eye on.