The year Adrian Peterson had in 2009 was a strange one to say the least. The Vikings seemed to under-utilize him throughout the year, even though they claimed they wanted to keep Brett Favre as fresh as they could. But of course, everyone knows the GM and coach of the Vikings is Favre. Also, Peterson fumbled more times than Petey from Remember the Titans.
However, there's no denying that his overall stats are Top-3 numbers for sure, but still, fantasy owners were expecting more from the man they call Purple Jesus. It’s tough to be upset with nearly 1,400 yards rushing, another 400 receiving, and 18 overall touchdowns, but when you’re touted as the best running back in the game, you don’t expect a 5’11”, 200 lb. sophomore speedster (CJ2K) to beat you out in fantasy points. When all was said and done, regardless of the immense expectations, AP28 still put up the most fantasy points he’s had in his career and looked like he should have no problem improving on those in the future.
~ Set career bests in rushing TDs (18), receptions (43), and receiving yards (436)
~ Set a Minnesota franchise record for rushing TDs with 18
The best news all offseason for Peterson and his fantasy owners was Chester Taylor signing with Da Bears. Taylor was used relatively often in 2009, but this means that Vikings ownership fully believes in AP. Expect ‘All Day’ Peterson to come back with a vengeance in 2010. Purple Jesus is at his best when faced with a challenge, when standing toe-to-toe with adversity; and plenty of people are questioning him right now. Most of those questions range from his fumble-itis to his lack of 100-yard games this past year, to Old Man Favre in pressure situations to his own linemen questioning his ability to follow instructions. AP certainly looks in line for a telltale year in 2010, but the smart bet is on Purple Jesus rising to the challenge. When faced with the “injury-prone” tag put on him before the 2007 draft, here was his reaction when asked about it:
"I'm a player who is coming in with the determination to turn a team around. I want to help my team get to the playoffs, win… and run wild. I want to bring people to the stands. I want people to come to the game to see what I can do next. Things like that can change the whole attitude of an organization. I want to win." (Robinson, Jon (2007-05-04) "Adrian Peterson Interview". IGN. http://sports.ign.com/articles/785/785800p1.html.)
See what we mean?
~ Chester Taylor is gone, so more of the offensive responsibility will lie on his shoulders, regardless of Toby Gerhart's arrival
~ The offensive line is really good and wants to see him succeed
~ After a crucial fumble in the playoff loss against the Saints, he’ll be angry… and hungry
~ The coaches surely worked with him on his fumbling problem over the summer
~ Likewise, they will also work on his patience in hitting holes, something his offensive linemen complained about last year
~ The million dollar escalators in his contract for things like 2,000 yards or 20 TDs, or the $250,000 bonus for being named the NFL MVP are incentive enough for anybody
Adrian signed a six-year, $40.5 million rookie contract back in July of '07. The deal contained $17 million guaranteed, including a $1.555 million roster bonus in the second year. Also available is an annual NFL MVP (or NFL ROY in 2007) incentive of $250,000 and a $1 million annual escalator for 20 rushing TDs. He already added $2.5 million to his 2010 salary by rushing for over 1,000 yards in his first two seasons. Should Peterson rush for 2,000 yards or 20 touchdowns, he adds $1 million each time he does to his 2011 salary. There is no risk for holdout.
2010 - $3.64 million (+ $2.8 million roster bonus)
Toby Gerhart is a mandatory handcuff to AP, and don't wait until the last few rounds, either. Once you have your starting QB, 2-3 RBs, and 3-4 receivers, start thinking about locking down Gerhart. He can be very productive behind this O-Line if AP goes down.
Peterson has missed two games in his career and played in all 16 in '08. We'll take a hobbled stud who has the cujones to play through pain over some average schmo that never goes down, but won't bring the potential of 150 and two scores no matter the opponent. The injury concerns revolving around AP are blown too far out of proportion.