Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

10 Sep 2011

Vikings, Peterson, Agree on Seven-Year Pact

Adrian Peterson became the latest big star to sign a deal before the start of the NFL season, agreeing on a seven-year, $96 million dollar pact with the Vikings. Escalators can take the total value of the contract to $100 million, and there are $36 million in guarantees along with $40 million in the first three years.

Posted by: Rivers McCown on 10 Sep 2011

26 comments, Last at 26 Nov 2011, 1:27pm by Vikings_Schedule


by Joshua Northey (not verified) :: Sat, 09/10/2011 - 6:25pm

Thanks for not leading with OMG!!! 100million dollars!!!!!!

Like some sports media conglomerates which cannot help themselves from providing infotainment instead of sports news.

by BJR :: Sat, 09/10/2011 - 7:04pm

Ok, I'll be the first to say it: this is surely way too much for a running back, right?

by Mr Shush :: Sat, 09/10/2011 - 7:13pm

Absolutely - especially a running back who contributes so little in the passing game.

by zlionsfan :: Sat, 09/10/2011 - 7:32pm

Well, the top two similarity scores for Peterson's last three seasons are Shaun Alexander from 2001-2003 and Emmitt Smith from 1991-1993. Both of those backs had two really good seasons immediately following that stretch: three of their combined four (one of Alexander's and both of Smith's) are significantly better in terms of DYAR than any of Peterson's seasons to date. If the Vikings get two seasons like that, the beginning of the contract will be somewhat reasonable, taking into account the fact that you pretty much have to overpay marquee RBs right now.

Beyond that, though ... Alexander dropped off a cliff, and Emmitt posted two more decent seasons (after having two bad seasons in between) before playing out the old-man-in-rocking-chair part of his career. Whatever value the Vikings get in those first two years, should the same happen to A.P., will be far outweighed by the rest of the contract.

by BJR :: Sat, 09/10/2011 - 8:28pm

Thanks for the info, interesting stuff. Clearly he is being overpaid, but I guess he had an excellent bargaining position in that the Vikings are in a state of flux both as a team and as an organisation, and allowing their best offensive player and most marketable star to become disgruntled would not have been tolerable.

by VarlosZ :: Sun, 09/11/2011 - 11:34am

This seems like a fair deal to me.

Yes, Peterson is a RB, but that doesn't automatically mean his value is overstated. It means that there are (at any given time) only 2 or 3 guys at the position who REALLY matter and are non-fungible, and AP is one of them. He's still only 26, and three more mostly-healthy seasons would make him a near-lock for Canton.

As for the deal, his base salary this year was going to be $10.72M, which was of course already guaranteed for all intents and purposes. So for the Vikings, what this contract boils down to (assuming for the sake of argument that they had a few million in extra cap space just lying around this year), is a 2-year extension for $13M per, with recurring team options after that. Not cheap, exactly, but I definitely make that deal.

by tuluse :: Sat, 09/10/2011 - 7:21pm

To go off on a tangent, where is Matt Forte's deal?

I understand playing hardball with Briggs, but Forte is still on his rookie deal and is clearly more valuable than what he is being paid. I don't understand why Angelo wasn't able to re-sign him.

by Anonymous(not that one) (not verified) :: Sat, 09/10/2011 - 7:26pm

Is there evidence that Angelo is competent?

by tuluse :: Sat, 09/10/2011 - 9:22pm

3 division championships since 2005. Not Belichick level, but I think it's fair evidence of competency.

by JeffM (not verified) :: Sun, 09/11/2011 - 12:05am

One can make a strong argument that two of those teams (2005, 2010) were pretty average. DVOA has both as average. PFR has the former as average, but the latter above average (offense is rated better than at FO), The 2005 team won a bad division (all other teams were below average), and the 2010 squad was the second best team in the division.

Whether that alone means Angelo is 'competent' - not sure.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Sun, 09/11/2011 - 12:48am

That would depend on what you think about the talent with which he works. But all other things being equal, average among his peer group is no insult.

by RichC (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2011 - 3:20pm

7 years, 3 (non-worst-team-in-football) teams in your division.

expectation should be between 2 and 3 division championships. So 3 isn't bad, but its not impressive.

by tuluse :: Mon, 09/12/2011 - 3:30pm

Which is pretty much the definition of competent.

by An Onimous (not verified) :: Sat, 09/10/2011 - 7:54pm

Clearly more valuable than what he is being paid? 38th, 47th, and 20th in rushing DYAR. 37th, 40th, and 38th in success rate. He's most famous for all the times he gets stoned at the goal line or on 3rd/4th down. I know his offensive line is brutal, and I know he's valuable as a receiver and a blocker, but is he really that much more valuable than replacement level that we need to break out the "Matt Forte is underpaid" line?

by cisforcookie (not verified) :: Sat, 09/10/2011 - 8:29pm

individual player DVOA rankings are worthless at distinguishing the value of a player from the unit. forte plays in a truly disfunctional offense behind simply one of the worst offensive lines i've ever seen, and I lived in chicago the last 3 years so I watched him every week. I'd rather have forte than chris johnson or ray rice.

by tuluse :: Sat, 09/10/2011 - 9:25pm

is he really that much more valuable than replacement level that we need to break out the "Matt Forte is underpaid" line?


Last year, Matt Forte's rushing DVOA: 0.4%, Chester Taylor's: -31.2%. That's what a replacement level running back gets you with the Bears.

by Dan :: Sat, 09/10/2011 - 11:20pm

They couldn't reach a deal because Forte wants to be paid like an elite back but he isn't one.

by D :: Sun, 09/11/2011 - 12:51am

For what its worth, Forte has outplayed Chris Johnson in 2 of their 3 seasons and Johnson just got a big deal.

by Marko :: Sun, 09/11/2011 - 4:27am

I think the reason that Angelo wasn't able to resign him is simple: It takes two sides to reach a deal. Angelo and the Bears definitely want to resign him and know that he is underpaid. However, they have a lot of leverage because Forte is not eligible for free agency until after this season, and they could always put the franchise tag on him if they can't agree on an extension before then.

It has been widely reported that the Bears did make a significant offer to Forte, with about $13 or $14 million guaranteed. Forte didn't accept the offer, presumably because DeAngelo Williams and Frank Gore recently received "better" deals than what Forte was offered.

Just because he hasn't been signed to an extension yet doesn't mean he won't be. I fully expect the Bears and Forte to reach an agreement sometime during the season, even though Angelo announced that they wouldn't negotiate during the season. I interpreted that to mean that all further negotiations will be done quietly and that Angelo doesn't want to be asked about the status of negotiations every time he addresses the media.

The Bears have a history of rewarding players with contract extensions before they reach free agency (Urlacher, Hester, Kreutz, Tillman, Vasher, Idonije and Tommie Harris come to mind immediately). Forte is a priority, and I can't recall one player who the Bears really wanted to resign but failed to do so. The only player who arguably falls in that category was Berrian, and although they did want to resign him, he wanted (and ultimately got from the Vikings) far more than they were willing to pay. Forte is much more important than Berrian was, so I can't see the Bears letting him leave.

by andrew :: Sat, 09/10/2011 - 10:55pm

I love Peterson and feel his past performance justifies overpaying a bit.

That being said... I think he has taken a tremendous pounding, his running style leads to tremendous collisions and he has taken a beating in previous seasons.

Even now, while he is still tremendous, I do not believe he is as good now as he was his rookie season. I fear he has already peaked.

As I said I love the guy and I don't mind him getting his huge payday. Part of me thinks the Vikings would have been better off trading him for a ton of return. But my gut reaction is to be happy for the guy.

by laberge :: Sun, 09/11/2011 - 7:41am

While I like the notion of trading AP for a huge bounty, who would be the trade partner? I really do not think there is a single franchise that would be willing to pay premium value for a rb like AP. Not when it would cost a huge extension plus some combo of players/picks. I think you would have trouble even getting a #1 for him. Plus, the pr hit would be very rough, disasterous for a team looking for a stadium deal.

by Bryan and Vinny Show (not verified) :: Sun, 09/11/2011 - 10:35am

There would definitely be a market for him, and while I agree that the way the NFL works now Peterson's value is not what it would have been ten years ago, there certainly would have been a team which wanted to make a 'splash'. Look at some of the contracts being given out to running backs not on his level; the extension that is being discussed for Hillis, a player whose talent level versus his results screams out as a regression, is proof that owners/GMs/fans still see starbursts when they look at 1000 yard backs. I agree that there should be some real reluctance for teams to trade for him, as his value going forward certainly won't increase, but somebody certainly would ( Dallas? Sure. He's a 'star' ).But the resultant carnage in Minnesota via the fanbase/media wouldn't make it worth it.

by Mr Shush :: Sun, 09/11/2011 - 12:52pm

Cardinals? Seahawks? Peterson's probably worth a division championship on his own in the NFC West, unless Bradford's progress is even faster than I (a huge Bradford advocate) am expecting.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 09/12/2011 - 10:05am

His failure to become a good pass blocker (although he isn't as awful as he used to be) means his value is overstated. Having said that, as someone noted above, for all intents and purposes this deal only adds two
more guaranteed years, in 2012 and 2013, for about 13 million a year, so it doesn't erect a cap jail for the franchise.

by commissionerleaf :: Tue, 09/13/2011 - 8:07pm

With a salary floor the Vikings have to pay somebody, and the only talented player on the roster who doesn't already have a mammoth contract (Jared Allen, McNabb, Hutchinson, KWill) is Peterson.

But yeah, Greenway needs paid.

by Vikings_Schedule (not verified) :: Sat, 11/26/2011 - 1:27pm

Adrian Peterson is a good deal for Vikings at this time when they really need goood players.
He has experience, is hard working and disciplined. Without doubt he can easily be part of any team.
100 M $ ? Boy that sounds great...