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Updated: September 1st, 2011 10:38pm
Adrian Peterson on Chris Johnson contract: 'I don't think it helps me'

Adrian Peterson on Chris Johnson contract: 'I don't think it helps me'

by Judd Zulgad
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The market appears to be set for Adrian Peterson.

The Minnesota Vikings Pro Bowl running back said again Thursday night after the Vikings' 28-0 preseason victory over Houston that his focus will remain on the field and not the final year of his rookie contract.

But Peterson had to take notice Thursday afternoon as Tennessee running back Chris Johnson ended his holdout and agreed to a four-year contract extension that reportedly is worth $53 million with $30 million of that guaranteed.

"I don't think it helps me at all," Peterson said, clearly not enjoying the subject matter. "Chris Johnson is with the Titans and we're two different players in two different situations. I don't think it has anything to do with a deal getting done for me. ... I look at his contract as being his contract and the thing is they (it) put together for him. Whenever a deal gets done for me, then it's going to be my own separate deal. So I don't think it has anything to do with his."

It's a bit difficult to believe that is really the case.

Peterson and Johnson have had a back-and-forth over the past couple of years about which is the better back and Peterson has made it clear he feels he's superior. Logic would dictate that Peterson would want more money than Johnson.

"I was happy for (Johnson). Just seeing it," Peterson said. "He finally got it done and I was happy for him. That's pretty much it."

Johnson, who became only the sixth player in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards in 2009, is the second running back to help establish the market for Peterson.

Carolina rewarded DeAngelo Williams with a $43 million, five-year contract in late July that included $21 million in guarantees.

Then there is the issue of Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and the contract he got last month. Fitzgerald received an eight-year, $120 million deal that included $50 million guaranteed.

The Vikings and Ben Dogra, the agent for Peterson, are believed to have had very preliminary discussions about a contract extension. Talks between the representative for linebacker Chad Greenway, who was given the franchise tag for this season, and the Vikings have been far more extensive.

One theory has been that Dogra was waiting to see what type of deal Johnson got. Peterson said he had no updates from Dogra on any talks. "I'm focused on playing football," he said. "(Dogra) knows that and he's doing his job."

Peterson has been elected to the Pro Bowl in each of his first four seasons and became the first Viking to lead the NFL in rushing in 2008, setting the team record with 1,760 yards. Last season, Peterson rushed for 1,341 yards in 14 games.

The seventh pick in the 2007 draft, Peterson set the NFL single-game rushing record with 296 yards against San Diego during his rookie season in 2007.

The Vikings and Peterson are in an interesting situation if they don't work out a long-term extension.

The team would automatically slap the franchise tag on Peterson, a designation that mean his 2012 salary would be 110 percent of his 2011 figure and put him in line for a pay day of $11.792 million.

The Vikings could use the franchise tag on Peterson for the 2013 and 2014 seasons if they so desired.

The issue would be whether Peterson would balk because if he was injured he would lose the type of guaranteed money that Johnson has assured himself of getting.

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays and "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Judd | @1500ESPNJudd | Mackey & Judd
In this story: Chad Greenway, Adrian Peterson
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