The Vikings announced today that it won't exercise Adrian Peterson contract option, meaning he'll become a free agent.
“Adrian is an important part of the Minnesota Vikings organization,” Vikings General ManagerRick Spielman said in a statement. “We will continue to have conversations with his representatives and leave our future options open while determining what is best for both parties moving forward.”
Peterson was due a $6 million bonus on March 11 and another $11.75 million for the 2017 season, along with a $250,000 workout bonus for a total of $18 million.
It's still possible Peterson could re-sign with the Vikings for less, and Peterson didn't rule out a return in his statement to ESPN's Josina Anderson.
"It’s been a great 10 years with the Minnesota Vikings. They know what I bring to the organization as a player, with my work ethic and dedication. I spoke with Rick Spielman this past weekend. The door is still open to find some common ground. I understand addressing the offensive line is one of their main priorities this offseason. In the meantime, I will explore my other options and see what path God leads me on. My main goal remains the same: to win a Super Bowl championship with a great team, which I also believe we have in Minnesota."
A torn meniscus limited Peterson to only two full games last season. According to ESPN's Trey Wingo, Peterson averaged just 2.8 yards per carry and 45 yards per game over his most recent nine games. ESPN's Ed Werder says the Vikings don't believe his sudden decline had more to do with a bad offensive line and injuries than it did a decrease in pure ability.