MINNEAPOLIS -- In a string of tweets on Thursday afternoon, running back Adrian Peterson said NFL players should have the same kind of fully guaranteed contracts that players in other sports receive.
Peterson unleashed 11 tweets venting about the leverage teams have over their players, arguing they should get some protection against the possibility of the team eventually releasing them with money remaining on their deals.
"I know hundreds of player's that wished their team would've HONORED the contract! But instead got threw to the side like trash," Peterson tweeted. "A lill crazy how one side has so much power that they can do as they please when it come to the contract! But when the other-side (player's) Feels for whatever reason! Family, Change of scenery or simply - what they feels just might work best for them! Those same laws don't apply!"
Peterson later clarified his tweets, saying, "This is nothing against the Vikings. I am just frustrated that our union did not get guaranteed contracts for its players." And a source close to Peterson said, "Adrian sees this issue as bigger than him. He truly believes that football players should have more protection with truly guaranteed contracts. It is easier to be quiet and not take the hatred from many people. However, that is not in his DNA."
The 30-year-old running back's series of tweets came a day after he released a statement to ESPN, hinting he wants the Vikings to add guaranteed money to a contract that currently has none and saying he is skipping the start of the team's organized activities because he wants to secure his future in Minnesota.
Peterson's deal runs through 2017 and is scheduled to pay him $12.75 million this season. He would make $15 million in 2016 and $16 million in 2017, including $250,000 workout bonuses each season, but there is no guaranteed money left in his contract and the Vikings would face no penalty for releasing him.
Peterson told ESPN in February he was "still uneasy" about returning to the Vikings, believing the team had not supported him properly after he was indicted on child injury charges in September and calling the Vikings' decision to put him on the commissioner's exempt list an "ambush." At the time, Peterson said his family had concerns about returning to Minnesota and added that he might prefer a fresh start with another team.
The Vikings, however, have maintained they will not trade Peterson, and they passed up what might have been their best chance to deal the running back during the NFL draft. After Peterson skipped the start of the Vikings' organized team activities this week, coach Mike Zimmer said Peterson had two choices -- "he can play for us or not play."
A Vikings source said the team has never asked Peterson to take a pay cut, and it has seemed unlikely all spring that the team would do so as it tried to mend its relationship with the 30-year-old running back. Peterson, however, now seems to be seeking protection for the final years of his contract, while arguing other players should receive the same benefit.
All I'm saying as a Minnesota Viking player! WE need the same power to do as all 32 teams do we they feel, under contract or not!— Adrian Peterson (@AdrianPeterson) May 28, 2015
Peterson said last summer he had no illusions about the business of the NFL, after seeing veteran teammates like Antoine Winfield and Kevin Williams get released or take pay cuts. This spring, the Vikings released wide receiver Greg Jennings when they could not come to terms with him on a restructured deal, and reworked the final year of linebacker Chad Greenway's deal. Players like Jennings were on Peterson's mind when he posted his tweets on Thursday, a source close to Peterson said.