Adrian Peterson, who has been mostly silent as he stays far away from Winter Park, took to Twitter on Thursday to express his displeasure with non-guaranteed NFL contracts — most notably his.
The Vikings running back urged his 1.1 million followers to "research how many NFL teams hasn't honored a player's contract & learn something" and expressed concern that the Vikings would not honor his.
Peterson has three years remaining on the $96 million contract extension he signed in 2011. He will make $12.75 million in base salary if he is still on the roster when Week 1 rolls around, and the Vikings have said they won't trade or release him.
Beyond 2015, though, there is no guaranteed money in the deal. Peterson is due to make approximately $32 million in the final two seasons of his contract (2016 and 2017). But because NFL contracts are not fully guaranteed, the Vikings theoretically could cut Peterson, who turned 30 in March, with no repercussions.
That perceived injustice was clearly weighing on Peterson's mind.
"Question for the people, is a contract two sided or one?" Peterson wrote during a string of 10 afternoon tweets, then added, "Ok great two sided! Well why when one party decides … Mr. ? we wan't you to take a pay cut now or better yet flat out release you!"
"There's never no talk about honoring a contract!" he continued, adding, "I know hundreds of player's that wished their team would've HONORED the contract! But instead got threw to the side like like trash."
After thousands of retweets, favorites and mentions, Peterson followed three hours later with another string of tweets.
"To clarify, since analysts & everyone else have the answers to what place in MY Heart this "rant" came from," he wrote in a series of five tweets, "This is not against the Vikings. I am just frustrated that our union did not get guaranteed contracts for its players. NFL players deserve guaranteed contacts like Our NBA and MLB brothers. Owners have the right to release players, at will, without honoring their contracts. However, players do not have the luxury of saying that they want out of their contract."
Peterson's actions came a day after coach Mike Zimmer told the media that Peterson had two options: play for the Vikings or don't play at all.
"He's not going to play for anybody else and that's just the way it's going to be," Zimmer said.
Hours later, Peterson released a statement to ESPN in which he explained that his absence from voluntary offseason workouts was "about securing my future with the Vikings," not trying to force the Vikings to trade him.
Peterson will be the NFL's highest-paid running back again this season. The Vikings, who stood by Peterson and continued to pay him when he was charged with child abuse last September and was exiled by the NFL for their final 15 games last season, have made it clear they value him enough to pay him his $12.75 million.
The NFL Players Association, of which he was critical Thursday, did win a court battle to send Peterson's suspension back to the NFL for reconsideration. The league appealed that ruling, but did reinstate him in mid-April.
The Vikings have not approached Peterson this offseason about taking a pay cut, but they have been vague about his future here beyond 2015.
The team did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.
Peterson is not the first NFL player to express frustration over the lack of loyalty teams can show once a player's production doesn't meet his salary.
He could look at veterans such as linebacker Chad Greenway, who was forced to take a pay cut the past two offseasons, and wide receiver Greg Jennings, who was released in March because of his sizable salary, for a reminder of how quickly things can change when the guaranteed money is gone.
"It's all about honoring you're contract! Sounds like free will is being a lil challenged to me!" Peterson wrote during his afternoon barrage. "All I'm saying as a Minnesota Viking player! WE need the same power to do as all 32 teams do we they feel, under contract or not!"