Adrian Peterson to become free agent, Vikings decline option

Adrian Peterson will become an unrestricted free agent on Thursday, March 9. The Minnesota Vikings announced Tuesday they will not exercise the 2017 team option on Peterson’s contract.

“Adrian is an important part of the Minnesota Vikings organization,” said a statement 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 issued the following 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." 

The Vikings had until March 8 to decide whether or not to pick up Peterson’s $18 million option for next season. When he spoke to the media last week, Spielman said he considers Peterson “a Viking for life,” but he hadn’t yet discussed a restructured deal.

In January, Peterson said if the Vikings cut him loose, he could see himself playing for some other teams. Among the teams Peterson named are the New York Giants, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Houston Texans.

Peterson appeared in just 3 games with the Vikings last season. He opened the season with a disappointing 31 yards on 19 carries against the Tennessee Titans, then tore his meniscus in a 19-yard performance against the Green Bay Packers in Week 2. Peterson played 12 plays in his first game back from the injury against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 15, gaining 22 yards on 6 carries.

Peterson is the Vikings’ all-time leading rusher with 11,747 yards and 97 touchdowns.