Vikings decline option to pick up Adrian Peterson's contract for 2017

What is next for Peterson? (2:08)

Ed Werder breaks down the Vikings' decision to not exercise Adrian Peterson's option and lists some teams that could be a fit for the All-Pro RB. (2:08)

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings will not pick up their option on Adrian Peterson's contract for the 2017 season, the team announced Tuesday.

Peterson will become an unrestricted free agent on March 9.

Peterson, who restructured his deal with the team before the 2015 season, had an option for 2017 that would have paid him $18 million, including a $6 million roster bonus had he been on the roster on the third day of the new league year. The Vikings had until the start of the league year on March 9 to inform Peterson whether they would exercise the option.

"It's been a great 10 years with the Minnesota Vikings," Peterson said in a statement to ESPN's Josina Anderson. "They know what I bring to the organization as a player, with my work ethic and dedication. I spoke with [Vikings GM] Rick Spielman this past weekend. The door is still open to find some common ground. I understand addressing the offensive line is one of their main priorities this offseason.

"In the meantime, I will explore my other options and see what path God leads me on. My main goal remains the same: to win a Super Bowl championship with a great team, which I also believe we have in Minnesota."

It seemed inevitable the Vikings would not exercise the option on Peterson, who played just three games last season because of a torn meniscus and turns 32 on March 21. The team could still work out a restructured contract with Peterson before the start of the league year or try to re-sign him if he doesn't find what he's looking for on the free-agent market.

"Adrian is an important part of the Minnesota Vikings organization," Spielman said in a statement. "We will continue to have conversations with his representatives and leave our future options open while determining what is best for both parties moving forward."

Peterson carried 37 times for 72 yards last season, returning in less than three months from his injury on Sept. 18 to play against the Indianapolis Colts on Dec. 18. However, he sat out the Vikings' final two games because of an adductor strain he suffered in his first game back.

He won an MVP in 2012 and ranks 16th all time with 11,747 rushing yards, but he has failed to eclipse 40 carries in two of the past three seasons because of suspension and injuries.

Peterson recently told ESPN's First Take he would like to remain in Minnesota but would be intrigued by the Houston Texans, New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers if he becomes a free agent.