Adrian Peterson stunned by friend, teammate Sidney Rice's departure
Get the 1500 ESPN SportsWire delivered to your inbox daily, and keep up with all the news in Twin Cities Sports
"I CAN'T Believe the Vikings let my boy Sidney Rice get away!" the All-Pro halfback posted on Twitter late Wednesday night. "I didn't think we wouldn't be playing together this year! WOW!"
Rice is coming off of an injury-plagued season, and the Seahawks spent big to get him, guaranteeing $18.5 million of a possible $44 million on a five-year contract, pending a physical. Still, there's no question his departure could change the balance of the offense, as it did when he underwent surprise hip surgery last August.
Peterson, 26, is entering the final non-voidable year of his of his original rookie contract. He is due a team-high base salary of $10.72 million, but that's a pittance compared to the guarantee he'll likely receive on his next contract.
The Carolina Panthers agreed to terms with DeAngelo Williams on a reported five-year, $43 million contract that includes $21 million guaranteed -- one of the largest guarantees ever given to a veteran halfback.
News soon followed that two other star running backs, Tennessee's Chris Johnson and San Francisco's Frank Gore, plan to hold out into training camp.
Williams is two years older than Peterson and has been far less durable, missing 10 games last season and 16 over his five-year career. NFL scouts rate Peterson in a different league (along with Johnson) than Williams, too.
If Peterson is truly uneasy about the Vikings' direction after Rice's departure, it's worth wondering whether he still might have a change of heart before taking the long drive to Mankato on Sunday -- or if he figures he might follow Rice's lead out of town after the season.