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The Vikings announced their decision on Tuesday, but General Manager Rick Spielman told beat reporters Wednesday he spoke with Peterson and his agent over the weekend.
“Very good conversations,” Spielman said. “I’ll keep those conversations between myself and Adrian and his representation, but very positive.”
The Vikings made their decision because it would have cost the team $18 million to keep Peterson in 2017 and both sides knew for some time that wasn’t going to happen. However, the team isn’t completely closing the door on a possible return.
“I think, just like all our players, we’ll keep all our options open, how all this evolves,” Spielman said. “But from the standpoint of always keeping all our options open with all our players, we’ll stick to what we’ve always done in the past.”
Since the Vikings announced their decision on Peterson, the Kansas City Chiefs released running back Jamaal Charles, adding to a free-agent pool of running backs that also included the Oakland Raiders’ Latavius Murray and other starters and former starters around the league.
Whether it is through free agency or the draft, the Vikings will have to find a replacement for Peterson if he isn’t brought back.
“There’s a lot of different things that go into that, from what we do in free agency to what the market is for running backs – you have to weigh in all those potential options that are out there,” Spielman said.
“You have to weigh everything in. Everything is so subjective right now – what the market is, who is available, what resources you have available depending on what you do. There’s so many things right now as of today that you can’t put a definition on it.”
The Vikings could also tap into an increased role from Jerick McKinnon, who took the majority of the carries during Peterson’s extended absences over the last three years because of injury and legal troubles.
“I think Jerick, he was solid. I think he definitely can do some things better, but we’re very excited,” Spielman said. “You have to remember Jerick has only played that position for three years so I think he’s going to continue to grow and develop. There’s no question that when he gets the ball in his hands in specific situations that he can be and shown to be an explosive playmaker.”
Depending on how the free-agent market shakes out, it seems the most likely course of action is that the Vikings would draft from Spielman called a deep pool of running backs, but that decision wouldn’t be made until there is more finality to Peterson’s situation in free agency.