To update the Adrian Peterson situation, Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman made it clear the great running back will be a Viking next season unless, of course, somebody offers a blockbuster-type trade for him.
“Adrian is under contract and a member of our football team,” Spielman said. “We’ve stated that, our owner has stated it, our head coach has stated it. There is no question that we want Adrian Peterson back on our football team.”
USA Today recently reported that Spielman informed Peterson’s agent, Ben Dogra, that the Vikings will not release the running back. The Vikings would never consider releasing him.
One way the Vikings could satisfy Peterson, rather than pay him the $12.75 million contract he has for next year, $14.75 million in 2016 and $16.75 million in 2017 — where none of that money is guaranteed — is to sign him to a less expensive three-year deal but guarantee more money. That way the great running back would have a contract paying him through his 32nd birthday.
Peterson met with Spielman and coach Mike Zimmer in Houston, and with the owners, the Wilfs, in New Jersey, and no doubt are having ongoing phone conversations.
If Peterson wants to play in the NFL, he has no choice but to play with the Vikings unless Spielman and Zimmer have a complete change of mind or are made an offer for his services they can’t turn down.
Wallace comes cheap
Spielman also was asked why Miami would get rid of wide receiver Mike Wallace so cheaply after he caught 67 passes for 862 yards and 10 touchdowns last year and had four productive years in Pittsburgh. The deal also called for the Vikings to give the Dolphins a fifth-round draft choice and get a seventh-round pick back. By comparison, recently released Greg Jennings was the Vikings’ leading wide receiver last season with 59 receptions for 742 yards and six touchdowns.
“Mike is a very competitive person, very good speed, very good receiver,” Spielman said. “What happens this time of year are teams are making big moves and you still have to manage your salary cap and your cash and how you’re distributing all of your finances. They did make a lot of big moves down in Miami. I felt that getting him up here gets us another explosive receiver, and we’re trying to get as many explosive players around [second-year quarterback] Teddy Bridgewater as we can.”
But why would Miami take such a small offer?
“That’s just all part of the negotiating,” Spielman said. “I think it was a great deal for both teams. We had to take on the contract, which plays a part in it. But we felt, from a draft compensation standpoint, we didn’t lose any picks. We had two fifth-round picks because of the move we made with Buffalo [the Matt Cassel trade], so that’s why you have to keep as many draft picks as possible, and even on draft day, because that gives you the ability to move around on draft day. It gives you the ability to do the move we were able to get accomplished [last week].”
Wallace has a big contract, being paid $9.85 million this year and $11.45 million the following two years for a total of $32.75 million over three years. But Spielman said Wallace is a unique receiver and couldn’t be passed up.
“He’s Mike Wallace. He has tremendous speed,” Spielman said. “He had a great game against us when we played in Miami this year [five catches for 58 yards and two touchdowns in a 37-35 Dolphins victory]. I’m very close with a lot of the Pittsburgh people, with coach [Mike] Tomlin and Kevin Colbert, their GM there, and they had nothing but great things to say about him, as well as the Miami people did. We felt we had an opportunity to get a speed receiver. I know [offensive coordinator Norv Turner’s] scheme is based on the vertical passing game, and we feel this was a move that will help us in that area.”
Reunited on Raiders
A number of former Vikings have been on the move during NFL free agency, but perhaps the biggest signing was quarterback Christian Ponder going to Oakland on a one-year deal worth $2.25 million, with $1.5 million guaranteed.
Ponder will be reunited with former Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, who really believed in the QB’s potential and was with him when he led the Vikings into the 2012 playoffs before injuring his arm and missing the 24-10 loss to Green Bay in an NFC wild-card matchup.
Musgrave might even think Ponder has a chance to start over incumbent Derek Carr, who didn’t exactly set the world on fire last year with a 58.1 completion percentage, 21 touchdowns and 12 interceptions for a 76.6 QB rating.
The local media that was on Ponder’s back for four years might get a surprise.
• It’s interesting that three coaches who were fired by the Timberwolves — Kevin McHale with Houston, Dwane Casey with Toronto, and Randy Wittman with Washington — are a combined 49 games over .500 and all are expected to make the playoffs. … Kevin Martin led all scorers with a season-high 37 points Wednesday at Toronto, his fifth 30-point effort this season. … Chase Budinger, who has played limited minutes most of the season, has scored in double figures in five of his past six games, including scoring 10 points in Thursday night’s 95-92 overtime victory at New York. He logged season highs in points (19), rebounds (eight) and minutes (36:20) against Toronto.
• Tim Allen, who worked under Glen Mason with the Gophers and is now director of football operations at Michigan State, has a son named Brandon who is quickly becoming one of Michigan’s best high school basketball players at Haslett High. Brandon, a junior point guard, led his team to a Class B district title last week and had 34 points and eight assists in the championship game.
• On Feb. 11, former Burnsville hockey coach Dan Boeser took over as the coach/general manager of the Chicago Steel of the USHL. Since taking over as coach, the team is 9-3. He was a Burnsville High School assistant varsity coach from 2012-2014 and joined the Steel coaching staff as an assistant in August 2014.
• The Gophers’ Mike Reilly has been named one of the finalists for the Hobey Baker Award and is playing some of the best offensive hockey from a defenseman the Gophers have ever seen. Reilly is the first Gophers defenseman to lead the team in scoring since Mike Crowley did it in 1996-97. Reilly has 42 points in 36 games as the Gophers enter the Big Ten tournament this weekend.
Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on 830-AM at 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. firstname.lastname@example.org