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Saturday, September 10, 2011
Adrian Peterson wasn't going anywhere

By Kevin Seifert

Inside the Minnesota Vikings' organization, there never seemed much doubt about the future of All-Pro tailback Adrian Peterson. From owner Zygi Wilf on down, team officials made clear that under no circumstances would Peterson leave when his rookie contract expired after this season. He is a once-in-a-generation player who has been the franchise's most consistent face the past five years. Peterson, meanwhile, appeared totally at ease with the situation from the start.

Adrian Peterson
Vikings star Adrian Peterson had his contract extended through the 2017 season.
The only questions were the nature and timing of his return. Would he play out the final year of his current deal and hit the negotiating table this winter? What if the Vikings tagged him their franchise player? Would the team's uncertain future in Minnesota play any role in its financial commitment?

We got the answers Saturday afternoon in decisive fashion, when the Vikings extended Peterson's contract through the 2017 season. The deal is worth between $96 million and $100 million, depending on escalators, and includes a total of $36 million in guarantees. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, $32 million of the $36 million is guaranteed for skill and injury. The other $4 million is guaranteed for injury only, meaning the Vikings wouldn't have to pay Peterson that final $4 million if he is ever released for performance reasons.

Regardless, Peterson is now the NFL's highest-paid running back and one of the top-paid non-quarterbacks in the league. The agreement was announced as the Vikings boarded their team charter to San Diego, where they will open the season Sunday against the Chargers -- the team, by the way, that allowed Peterson's NFL-record 296 yards in a 2007 game.

Some further thoughts: