The Minnesota Vikings announced yesterday that they will release Adrian Peterson and made the announcement weeks before they even needed to inform the NFL. However, there appears to be a little more to the story than originally reported. Vikings general manager Rich Spielman said he wants Peterson back with Minnesota in 2017. It seems that the move was done for financial reasons and the Vikings hope that Peterson will consider returning to the only NFL team he has ever played for.

The importance of Adrian Peterson to the Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings could have contended for a playoff spot in 2016 if Adrian Peterson had remained healthy.

However, his injury coupled with numerous injuries to the offensive line ruined any chance they had of making the NFL postseason. However, it was clear that without Peterson, the Vikings couldn't compete with the rest of the NFL's heavyweights. Peterson was one season off of leading the NFL in rushing when injuries ended his 2016 NFL season, although he has proven that he can rebound quickly, making him an interesting option for the 2017 NFL season.

The financial windfall of releasing Adrian Peterson

The big thing that the Vikings had to consider when releasing Peterson was that they were going to save a lot of money by doing so. By declining their option on Adrian, Minnesota saved $18 million in salary cap space.

That is substantial for a team that needs to beef up its offensive line and add some more weapons. In 2011, Peterson signed a six-year deal worth $86.28 million and then restructured it in 2015 to a three-year, $42 million deal.

Does Adrian Peterson have loyalty for the Vikings?

Of course, the million dollar question is whether or not the loyalty for Minnesota is still there for Peterson.

The running back has always been fiercely loyal but that was strained after the team stepped back some during child abuse claims against Adrian. He talked then about leaving the team but they said at that time that they would not release him and would force him to retire from the NFL rather than cut him. They have now changed course and this could be Peterson's chance to leave. If Adrian Peterson leaves the Minnesota Vikings, there are plenty of teams that will take him but it is now his decision completely.