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Updated: July 28th, 2011 8:04am
Adrian Peterson stunned by friend, teammate Sidney Rice's departure

Adrian Peterson stunned by friend, teammate Sidney Rice's departure

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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Leslie Frazier said on Monday that Adrian Peterson has promised he'll report to Minnesota Vikings training camp on time.

That was before Wednesday's defection of top receiver Sidney Rice to Seattle -- a move that seemed obvious in hindsight but apparently caught his close friend Peterson off guard.

"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.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
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