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Thursday, February 24, 2011
Combine'11: New deal for Adrian Peterson?

By Kevin Seifert

INDIANAPOLIS -- I joined a group of reporters who caught up Thursday with Rick Spielman, the Minnesota Vikings' vice president of player personnel. Most of our conversation revolved around the team's ongoing efforts to find a starting quarterback, a topic I'll be taking up at length Friday.

For now, I want to pass along a number of personnel hints, clues and assessments Spielman dropped on us. At the top of the list was the clear indication the Vikings want to sign three of their best young players -- linebacker Chad Greenway, receiver Sidney Rice and tailback Adrian Peterson -- to contract extensions.

The Vikings named Greenway their franchise player this week, a move that often leads to a long-term deal. That decision left Rice likely to be tendered as a restricted free agent, but Spielman said: "Hopefully we'll be able to get Sidney under contract this year."

Peterson, meanwhile, in essence has one year remaining under his original contract. (It technically extends through 2012, but the final year is voidable.) Because of several escalators, Peterson is scheduled to make a whopping $10.720 million base salary in 2011, giving him a salary cap figure of $12.775 million if the NFL returns to its previous accounting system.

We discussed the Vikings' complicated financial situation with Peterson last spring, noting his high 2011 salary but also recognizing that running backs have shorter career spans than other positions. As a result, there is a line of thought that suggests the best approach would be to let Peterson play out his deal and then determine his future on a yearly basis thereafter, possibly through franchise tags.

But Spielman indicated the Vikings will consider Peterson's deal after the NFL's new collective bargaining agreement is completed.

"That's going to have to get addressed," Spielman said. "Once we understand what we're dealing with, then we'll be able to address that."

A few other highlights from our conversation with Spielman: