The Minnesota Vikings may look at the release or trade of Adrian Peterson heading into 2015 if the sides can't agree on a new contract and if that happens, teams like the Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders and Miami Dolphins could be interested in signing him and this comes as DeMarco Murray, CJ Spiller and Mark Ingram are hitting free agency.
The Vikings have been open about their opinions on Peterson's return and both head coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman have said they want him back. Peterson is set to be the highest cap hit at his position into next season and if the two sides don't work on a new contract, he could be let go. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that a "showdown" could be in the future for Peterson and the Vikings if he doesn't take a pay cut or restructures his deal.
Zimmer spoke at the NFL combined and said that the team is planning on having Peterson back and he went as far to say that the team will not be bringing in anyone in free agency. According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Zimmer was asked about Peterson and the offseason plans for the Vikings and he added that the running back position is not a target for free agency.
The team was happy with Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata last season and they could continue with those two behind Peterson once he returns. Some are skeptical of the Vikings openness, with Andrew Brandt at the MMQB saying that the team has no obligations yet for Peterson and things could change when April gets closer. Peterson has been one of the most productive backs in the NFL during his career and if he is let go, there will be plenty of suitors for him.
Brandt cites the contract situation and the fact that the team could look at the draft for another running back. Melvin Ingram and Todd Gurley could be options and this comes as the Vikings organization as a whole has been public about Peterson returning. The team could be posturing for a better PR hit if they have to release or trade him due to money, but it also could be what the Vikings hope is the end result. Either way, Peterson cannot come back until April at the earliest.
Peterson played in just one game last season before being placed on the exempt list and he ended up with just 75 yards rushing and zero touchdowns. Peterson was later suspended and while he appealed the decision, Peterson lost that appeal and can officially apply for reinstatement on April 15. Free agency will be open for a month at that point and that could make it tough for the Vikings and Peterson to find a solution for 2015. Peterson has played his entire career for the Vikings, but with a cap hit at over $15 million, he could be on his way out.
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune also reports that the Vikings will likely look at releasing Greg Jennings, as he is worth $11 million on the cap. The Vikings are building around Teddy Bridgewater now and they were pleased with the way that rookie Jerick McKinnon played last season.