The Minnesota Vikings announced that they will not be exercising a team option for Adrian Peterson next season, meaning the franchise leader in yards, touchdowns, and carries will become an unrestricted free agent on March 9. The Vikings held an $18 million option for the upcoming season, including a $6 million roster bonus that would have kicked in on March 11, and they decided it was too much of a financial commitment for a running back who will turn 32 later this month.
From the Vikings website:
"Adrian is an important part of the Minnesota Vikings organization," said Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman. "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 has had a tumultuous couple years in Minnesota. Last season he appeared in only three games due to a torn meniscus he suffered in Week 2. He missed nearly all of 2014 due to a suspension following felony child abuse charges after beating his son with a switch. He later entered into a plea agreement in which he avoided jail time. Once reinstated in 2015, Peterson led the league in yards, yards per game, and touchdowns. The firestorm surrounding the child abuse case subsided considerably, and the Vikings welcomed him back after it was resolved, but cap space has apparently become an issue for the team.
Peterson has been linked to the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys.