Adrian Peterson has a nice new contract from the Minnesota Vikings now. The face of the franchise agreed to a long-term deal that will likely keep him with Minnesota till the end of his career, and definitely seems like a response to what the Tennessee Titans did for Chris Johnson.
According to ESPN, this contract extension is for seven years; making it the first deal that Peterson has had since signing a long rookie contract. By most accounts, Peterson was one of the most underpaid players in the game, especially because he had been putting up MVP-type numbers in the past. He certainly won’t be considered “underpaid” any longer though.
In his four years since getting drafted out of Oklahoma, Peterson has rushed for 5,782 yards in just 61 games. That includes a 2008 season where he rushed for 1,760 yards on a 4.8 yards per carry average. Last season he saw his statistics dip with fewer opportunities to run the ball, and ended up with just 1,298 rushing yards on 283 carries. That was still good for a 4.6 average per carry, which was one of the best in the league for full-time running backs.
In addition to his rushing yardage, Peterson has also caught 119 passes for 1,170 yards during his time in the NFL. He has scored 54 total touchdowns, and has all of the accolades that go along with being one of the best players in the game. The problem for him though, has been his propensity to fumble the ball. In 2010 he seemed to have gotten that under control, losing just one fumble for the year. In the three previous years though, he had fumbled the ball 20 times total.
A dollar figure for the new Peterson contract has not yet been revealed, but it has to be close to the deal that Johnson just got with the Titans. His new deal was a six-year contract extension for $56 million, making it very likely that Peterson’s deal will be between $60 and $70 million over his next seven seasons. That makes them two of the richest contracts that running backs have ever received in the NFL, and the lofty expectations for both players will grow even more.
The Vikings may have a long ways before this team is competitive again, but locking up Peterson to a long term deal is a great move in the right direction. Now the team just needs to fill out some of the other key positions in the 2012 NFL Draft.