This shouldn’t come as a pick surprise, considering that doing so would trigger an $11.75 million base salary for the 2017 season.
Schefter says that the real question now is whether Minnesota and Peterson can reach a restructured deal before March 11 or if they’ll be forced to release one of the best players in franchise history.
A few weeks ago, Peterson discussed the possibility of becoming a free agent if Minnesota declined to pick up his option during an appearance on ESPN’s “First Take.”
“If that doesn’t happen. I’ve earned my way up to that [$18 million], by the way,” Peterson said, via the Star-Tribune. “But if it doesn’t happen, [I would want] a place where me and my family are comfortable, [and] just the opportunity to compete for a championship. That’s my main goal that I want to accomplish.”
Peterson specifically mentioned that he would like to play for a contender that had a good defense, a “good offensive scheme” and “a great coaching staff.”
When asked what teams he could see himself playing for, Peterson tossed out the Buccaneers, Giants and Texans.
The Texans happen to be Peterson’s hometown and were linked to him a few years ago as a potential landing spot. However, they signed Lamar Miller to a big-money contract, so it would be surprising to see them show interest in signing Peterson.
The Buccaneers and Giants could both use help at running back and were competitive in 2016.
Peterson did say that he would like to play another five years or so in the NFL.
Peterson, 31, is a former first-round pick of the Vikings back in 2007. He’s currently in the second year of his three-year, $44 million contract that included $20 million guaranteed and stands to make a base salary of $7.75 million for the 2016 season.
The Vikings will owe Peterson a base salary of $11.75 million in 2017 to go along with a $6 million roster bonus that’s due in March.
In 2016, Peterson has rushed for 72 yards on 37 carries (1.9 YPC) to go along with three receptions for eight yards receiving and no touchdowns over the course of three games.
We’ll have more regarding Peterson and the Vikings as the news is available.