MANKATO -- Adrian Peterson is entering the final season of his rookie contract with no extension on the horizon, but the Pro Bowl running back never considered holding out in hopes of getting a new deal. In fact, it sounds as if Peterson might be setting himself up to test the free-agent market after the 2011 season.
“I’m going to sit back and let the chips fall where they may," Peterson said Friday when asked if he wanted to be a Viking long term. "The only thing I can do is control what I can control and that’s coming out and making sure that I’m prepared, making sure that I’m doing everything I can do to help this team win. That’s been my focus for four years and this fifth year is going to be the same.”
Peterson returned to Mankato on Friday after being away since Monday so he could go to Houston to be with his fiancee for the birth of their son, Adrian Jr., who Adrian Sr., said will be called "Deuce." In his first comments to the Twin Cities media since the end of last season, Peterson said he is comfortable with where he is at and "committed to my deal."
"Obviously this is the last year of my deal, so I have guys that take care of that for me," he said. "That’s my agents, Ben Dogra and Tom Condon, and I let those guys handle that. For now, I’m focused on football. I’m not worried about a contract at all, at all and my main focus is doing what I can do. Learning this offense and helping the Minnesota Vikings win a Super Bowl."
Peterson is due to make $10.7 million this season so he certainly will be getting a fair salary. The issue is does he want to risk being injured on the last year of his contract?
As for a potential holdout, Peterson has no plans to follow other players who have taken that route.
"To each his own," he said. "There are different situations for different guys. I’m not really hurting for anything, I’m comfortable in the position that I’m in and I’m ready to play ball. It wasn’t a decision that I had to sit back and ponder all year if I want to holdout, if I want to do this, do that or anything. I knew when training camp starts, whenever, I’m going to be there. There were no ifs, ands or buts.”
Peterson also was asked about his comment in March about the NFL being like modern-day slavery as well as the Vikings new offensive system. Here are those responses:
Q. Do you regret the slavery comment?
A. “I regret using those words because obviously there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that you can compare to slavery. It stands alone. It was something that I should have used better wording to put that out there. But it’s spoiled milk, it’s old and it’s over with.”
Q. Did Leslie Frazier talk to you about that comment?
A. “Not really. Not in like a sitdown conversation about it. It was [taken] out of context and it was on me for putting it out there to make it available to be taken out of context."
Q. Are there changes in the new offense or is it about the same?
A. “It’s a lot of changes. Obviously, it’s different terminology, the running back is definitely asked to do a lot more and I’m excited about it. Different formations and different looks that the running back will have outside of the box. I’m excited to get this instilled in my mind, this playbook, and then get out there on Sundays and showcase the new Vikings offense.”
Q. Do you expect you will be more involved in the passing game?
A. “Yeah, I do. I do. Just looking through the playbook, I see the running back is ... the running back, fullback, we’re definitely involved a lot. Slot and different formations, things like that.”
Q. What did you focus on this offseason? Last year it was decreasing the fumbles.
A. “Just my overall game. Just everything. I can always improve in so many different areas. The only thing I did differently last year is keep the ball high and tight. Just being conscious that guys were trying to punch the ball out.”