By Anthony Caruso III
Posted: November 29th, 2014 at 11:26 AM EST
The Minnesota Vikings are not having the type of season that they wanted when they hired first-year head coach Mike Zimmer in the off-season. Now, with a 4-7 record, the team is expected to make major changes in the off-season.
Those changes could come to their two best offensive players. The team may try to restructure the contracts of wide receiver Greg Jennings and running back Adrian Peterson in the off-season.
Jennings is expected to have an $11 million cap hit next season. Peterson, who is not eligible to return to the team until April 2015, is due $15.4 million in 2015.
If the players decide it is not in their best interest to re-do their contracts, the team is expected to release them. If they do this, it would save the team $18 million in salary cap relief.
Jennings would have a $6 million dead money hit if he’s released after June 1st. He’s currently 31-years-old, and many team insiders believe that there is no upside left for him.
The team is reportedly better off with younger receivers Charles Johnson, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Jarius Wright.
Jennings has played in 11 games this season with 40 receptions for 501 yards. He also has a career-low 3 touchdowns at this time with four games left in the regular season.
He’s been with the Vikings for the past two seasons after signing a free agent five-year, $45 million contract in March 2013. He played his first seven seasons with the Green Bay Packers.
Peterson’s situation is a bit different. He only played in one game this season, where he had 21 rushes for 75 yards. In the same game, he had two receptions for 18 yards.
Coach Zimmer has said that Peterson is going to be a Viking when he’s reinstated from his suspension. The talented back is currently suspended indefinitely and is not eligible to rejoin the team until April 2015.
“All I know of Adrian is that he’s always been great with me, always done what I’ve asked him to do, and I kind of go by what I see,” Zimmer said to ESPN.
Peterson has an appeals hearing scheduled for December 2nd.
On September 12th, 2014, he was indicted on charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child by a Montgomery County, Texas grand jury. Those in the prosecution argued that Peterson used a “switch,” also known as a tree branch, to hit his young son on the back, buttocks, genitals, ankles, and legs.
Earlier this month, he pled no contest to a misdemeanor charge of recklessly assaulting his four-year-old son, and avoided jail time. As a part of the plea, Peterson had to pay a $4,000 fine, and was sentenced to 80 hours of community service.