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Bleacher Report – Vikings

ESPN’s Clayton polls NFL execs on Adrian Peterson, gets wide range of results

By Matthew Coller

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One of the NFL’s best reporters checked in with a group of five executives to get their opinions on how the Minnesota Vikings should handle the future of running back Adrian Peterson.

All five execs told ESPN’s John Clayton that they would not be willing to pay Peterson the $18 million he is owed under his current contract, but otherwise there wasn’t a consensus on how the situation should be handled.

The first person Clayton asked said he/she would offer Peterson $8 million to return because, “If you let him go, the Vikings would have to find two backs.”

Would Peterson take $8 million from the Vikings or would he rather take the same or less from another franchise? Also, the Vikings could pick a running back in a very deep draft at the position, sign one for $1-$3 million and spend the rest of their cap space on more valuable positions. The likely production from a rookie and other free agent, compared to Peterson’s recent play, would probably end up being comparable unless AP found 2009 again.

Another exec told Clayton that offering a reduced price to Peterson would be an insult to the future Hall of Fame running back. That may or may not be true. Some consider Peterson’s ego to be too big to take a pay cut in Minnesota, but Ladanian Tomlinson restructured his deal at age 29 to give it one more year in San Diego. Tomlinson then averaged 3.3 yards per carry and was released by the team. But it wouldn’t be unprecedented for a legend to take less to stay for another season.

Executive 3 said Peterson has declined, so moving on would be the best choice. Here is a look at his yards per carry since the beginning of last season. The Vikings’ offensive line has played a role in his struggles, but the lack of big games stands out. Even when he won the rushing title in 2015, he did so at 4.4 yards per carry, which is solid but far from irreplaceable.

Another exec agreed, telling Clayton that very few running backs Peterson’s age are successful. While that’s generally true, very few running backs have had the success of Peterson. A handful of backs have produced great seasons over age 30, including Rickey Williams, who went over 1,000 yards in ’09 and averaged 4.7 yards per carry at age 32.

The fifth executive in the ESPN Insider piece had a pretty unique way of looking at the Peterson situation. His/Her idea was to allow Mike Zimmer to make the call on bringing Peterson back.

Zimmer has given no indication either way about his feelings on Peterson’s future, but it’s hard to believe the old ball coach isn’t frustrated by the way AP has handled this year. Not only did he choose surgery that would keep him out longer on a team that had high hopes for the season, Peterson also revealed his status multiple times on a radio station of which he is a part owner. In addition to that, Peterson told the media he wouldn’t play if the team was out of the playoff race, which certainly did not go over well with the head coach.

The parting of ways between Zimmer and offensive coordinator Norv Turner could also play a role in the decision. Interim OC Pat Shurmur could become the full time coordinator and decide he would rather focus the offense around Sam Bradford and receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen rather than around Peterson.

If you were putting odds on which executive’s opinion ends up being closest to how the Vikings handle the situation, the favorite would be Minnesota moving on without offering him an insulting deal, but it’s always hard to predict when legendary players are involved.

The post ESPN’s Clayton polls NFL execs on Adrian Peterson, gets wide range of results appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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