4 Takeaways from Adrian Peterson’s Contract Restructure

By Vincent Frank

The Minnesota Vikings and Adrian Peterson shocked the football world by coming to terms on a new contract on Tuesday. Just weeks after it was assumed Peterson would remain away from the team due to a contract stalemate and his own reservations over returning from suspension, the running back met Minnesota halfway in what amounts to a newly structured three-year deal.

The value of the deal doesn’t necessarily change. Instead, Peterson received guarantees that hadn’t existed under the prior deal.

Here are some takeaways from the “new” deal.

Guarantees

All of Peterson’s $13 million salary for 2015 ($11 million base and $2 million roster bonus) is now fully guaranteed. It was previously guaranteed if he was on the roster Week 1.

The real difference here is that Peterson now has $7 million guaranteed to him for the 2016 season. Remember, his old deal didn’t guarantee any cash beyond the 2015 season. Of course, that was dependent on him actually being on the 53-man roster. That $7 million becomes fully guaranteed on the third day of the new league year next March. In addition to the $7 million, Peterson’s $5 million roster bonus will be guaranteed that day.

In 2017, Peterson is slated to receive a total salary of $18 million, none of which is guaranteed until March of that year.¬†This brings Peterson’s total contract to three years and upwards of $46 million with essentially $20 million guaranteed for injury and $13 million guaranteed at signing.

Escalators 

Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio is reporting that Peterson’s contract restructure includes escalators and de-escalators moving forward.

The future Hall of Famer will get an additional $1 million in 2016 should he rush for 1,750 yards and lead the Vikings to the divisional round of the playoffs. If Peterson fails to rush for 1,550 yards or the Vikings do not win a playoff game, his 2016 roster bonus drops by $1 million. That roster bonus drops by $2 million should Peterson fail to hit the 1,300-yard plateau or Minnesota misses the playoffs completely. However, Peterson will net $2 million more in 2016 should he rush for 1,900 yards and the Vikings win the Super Bowl.

The End Game

All of the drama surrounding Peterson is now officially over. He’s inked into a minimum of a one-year deal and will likely find himself on the Vikings roster in 2016. With this conclusion comes a sense of relief for both sides:

“I appreciate the Vikings for working together on this restructured contract, which provides additional security for me but also allows opportunities for me to further prove my value to the team and within the NFL,” Peterson said, via the team’s official site. “It was important for me to continue my career in Minnesota, and I cannot wait to get on the field in front of Vikings fans again.”

This obviously runs contrary to pretty much everything spewed to the media from Peterson’s camp since the end of the 2014 season. Though, I am pretty sure both sides will sweep any hard feelings under the rug now that a restructure is in place.

Accordingly, general manager Rick Speilman reiterated Peterson’s message in what was nothing less than a coordinated press release from the Vikings:

“This agreement is a win for both Adrian and the Vikings and is a positive step toward Adrian finishing his career as a Minnesota Viking. As we have consistently said, Adrian is a valuable part of the Vikings organization and we look forward to his return to the field.”

With the entire mess behind the team, Minnesota can now turn its focus to contending for a playoff spot in 2015.

On the Field

Even prior to this restructure, there was little doubt that Peterson would be on the field for Week 1. Nothing has really changed there. Instead, the team can now focus on finding success on the actual football field.

Coming off a seven-win 2014 campaign that saw rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater play consistently good football without Peterson, expectations have to be relatively high in Minnesota heading into the 2015 campaign. With the best running back in the game taking to the backfield with him, Bridgewater should find even more success this upcoming season.

That’s only magnified by the return of tight end Kyle Rudolph from injury and the addition of speedy wide receiver Mike Wallace in a trade with the Miami Dolphins. In reality, the Vikings offense should be ready to go Week 1 against the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football.

Photo: USA Today Sports