Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.

Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.

Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.

31 million reasons (at least) for Peterson to be happy

Posted by: Mark Craig under Vikings, Vikings offense, Adrian Peterson Updated: September 1, 2011 - 1:52 PM

Last week, some of us in the media asked Adrian Peterson about the ongoing holdout/contract negotiations for Titans running back Chris Johnson.

"Pay the man," was Peterson's advice to the Titans.

Now we know why. And now we know why Peterson was in no hurry to sign a deal before CJ.

Johnson and the Titans agreed to a four-year, $53.5 million deal with $30 million guaranteed.

Peterson has to be thrilled. The Vikings not so much, although they had to figure this was about the ballpark they'd have to play in to keep Peterson.

When the two sides get together and start seriously negotiating, the starting point is going to be $31 million because Peterson is in perpetual competition with Johnson. He hates it when people say or even suggest Johnson is the league's best running back.

The Vikings could let Peterson play out the final year of his contract at $10.72 million this season and then stick the franchise tag on him for about $12 million next season. That would save money, but that also comes a likely giant mess. Peterson wouldn't be happy, and if he's not happy, the Vikings aren't happy. He could hold out, which wouldn't be the way you'd want to start the Christian Ponder era. He also could force a trade, which is really not the way you want the CP era to begin.

So it looks like the Vikings will have to pay up. The good news for them is if you have to fork over that much money to a running back, Peterson is the one you'd want to give it to. 


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