Besides being a competitive person, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has another reason to shoot for his publicly stated goal of 2,000 yards this season – money. Peterson's contract is loaded with incentives – about $12.5 million over the first five years.
There has been a lot of talk about the comments made earlier this month by Adrian Peterson
that he has set goals of 2,000 yards and Offensive Most Valuable Player this season. The reaction in the media has been mixed – some have said that the goal is admirable and achievable, while others have claimed that such a goal is preposterous and shouldn't have been made.
Many of them seem to be missing the point. Why would A.D. make such a prediction? It's in his contract.
When Peterson signed with the Vikings last summer, the announced number on his contract sounded incredibly high. But those numbers took into account a load of incentives – some of which he has already reached. Among them were rushing totals. If Peterson was to top 1,300 yards twice early in his career, there would be an escalator in the contract. He's halfway home. If he was named Offensive Rookie of the Year, there was a bonus. He reached that. If he was the Pro Bowl MVP, there was a bonus. He reached that.
Among the top-end bonuses would be a 2,000-yard rushing season, which could add $1 million a year to the remaining years of his contract. So why is Peterson saying he has set a goal of 2,000 yards? Because if he does, his payoff is even bigger. It isn't out of arrogance that he made the comment, which some have mistakenly attributed to him. It is out of incentive in his contract and, quite frankly, it's in his competitive nature.
Sometimes there are simple answers to what seem to be difficult questions.
The Vikings made some big free agent signings in the offseason, but one player who has made a splash at the Vikings OTA sessions that wasn't a Page 1 signing is running back Maurice Hicks. Hicks, a free agent signee who played for the 49ers, has taken the lion's share of carries as Chester Taylor has been absent and the team has dialed back Adrian Peterson's workload. Hicks, who is expected to assume the role previously held by Mewelde Moore, has been getting much more than just a cursory look at running back during the OTAs and may have a role beyond special teams with the Vikings when the season begins.
The Vikings intend to keep Brian Robison at right defensive end, despite having Jared Allen at that spot. Leslie Frazier said Thursday that the team wants to keep Robison at one position if possible to help his learning curve.
Now in the role of run-stopping left defensive end, Ray Edwards has added 5 to 10 pounds in the offseason.
Speaking of "good" weight gain, Chad Greenway is expected to play about 10 pounds heavier this year that he did last year. Greenway dropped about 10 pounds while rehabbing his injured knee from his rookie season and felt that having the reduced weight in 2007 would lessen the strain on his injured knee. Now that he is back to 100 percent, his plan is to add the bulk weight back that he shed a year ago and play at his more natural playing weight of about 245 pounds.
After taking part in the first three days of the OTAs, LB Rufus Alexander sat out Thursday's practice, but not due to a new injury. The decision is part of his rehab program and the Vikings don't want to take any chances of re-aggravating the injury.
Rookie wide receiver Darius Reynaud left Thursday's OTA will a leg injury. The severity of the injury was not immediately known.
From the "Who Was a Bigger Bust?" Department comes this: With Troy Williamson out of Minnesota and now playing with Jacksonville, fellow 2005 lottery pick Mike Williams is getting his last chance to stay in the NFL with Tennessee. After being a bust with the Lions and a washout in Oakland, Williams has dropped 30 pounds and is said to be looking solid in the Titans' offseason workouts.