What's the Matter with Julian Peterson?

During the Vikings' initial foray into free agency, many fans were hoping for the pursuit of outside linebackers Will Witherspoon or Julian Peterson. It didn't happen, and there is good reason for it.

Why didn't the Vikings pursue outside linebacker free agents Will Witherspoon (late of Carolina) or Julian Peterson (San Francisco)? Indications were that the value wasn't there for the Vikings – they wanted to spend the big money on linemen and let the mid-level linebackers work behind them.

John Taylor from the Orange and Brown Report, Scout.com's Cleveland Browns site, has been checking into the Browns' interest in Peterson and provides exclusive information on why the San Francisco linebacker has remained unemployed even as teams wrap up their initial burst of free agent shopping.

Besides the biggest mysteries of the free-agent signing season – "how the hell are the Redskins doing it?" – is the seeming lack of interest in two-time Pro Bowler Peterson.

Other than an Internet-fueled brouhaha that had the Browns and Lions supposedly doing an "Anything You Can Do, I Can Offer Better" banjo-riffing contract battle, there has been virtually no action on the Peterson front.

Now, The OBR is able to shed at least a little bit of light on the lack of activity involving the linebacker.

According to a league source, Peterson is seeking $18-$20 million in any new contract he signs. That's $18-$20 million in guaranteed money.

To put that into proper perspective, Edgerrin James and Shaun Alexander received $15 million guaranteed each and they were coming off Pro Bowl seasons. Peterson is coming off a sub par 2005 season, which came on the heels of an Achilles injury that limited him to five games in 2004.

Then again, Peterson is represented by the notorious Poston brothers, so that does somewhat explain the exorbitant demands.

In spite of the dollar figures floating around the Peterson camp's collective heads, the Browns and other teams still maintain at least a sliver of interest. But, as was the case with Willie McGinest, the Browns are more than willing to sit back and allow the market to correct what is – to be blunt – a ridiculous starting point in negotiations.

In order for the Browns interest to go from minimal to anything close to serious, the source said, the Peterson camp "will have to drop their price drastically." Still, Peterson is garnering mild interest from other teams – the Vikings not being one of them.

The Patriots are also interested in Peterson, but are taking a wait-and-see attitude. In addition to Cleveland and New England, Seattle and Miami have shown interest.

Peterson has already visited the Seahawks in the last the last 24 hours, and has a visit scheduled for the Dolphins in the next day or two.

Additionally, the source said, the 49ers are about to renew their efforts to re-sign their prodigal linebacker.

Meanwhile, the Vikings don't see a linebacker on the market with that would be able to upgrade over their current corps for the value they are seeking. There might be more talented linebackers left on the market, but the Vikings aren't willing to pay their asking price – and Peterson's asking price is far from something they would consider, according to the indications Scout.com has been getting.


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