Vikings pick up back from Oakland’s roster
The Associated Press
MINNEAPOLIS — Adrian Peterson has taken his final handoff for Minnesota, a 10-year run featuring a league MVP award, plenty of off-the-field drama and a franchise-leading 11,747 yards rushing over 123 regular-season games.
After the Vikings declined their $18 million option on his contract for 2017 two weeks ago to make Peterson a free agent, they signed former Oakland running back Latavius Murray early Thursday. General manager Rick Spielman then clarified the obvious that the four-time All-Pro will play elsewhere in 2017.
Murray, who will join Jerick McKinnon as the team’s top two running backs, compiled 2,278 yards and 20 touchdowns over the past three years with the Raiders after missing his rookie season because of a foot injury.
The former sixth-round draft pick out of Central Florida has a three-year contract worth as much as $15 million, ESPN reported, but only $3.4 million is guaranteed now. If the Vikings bring him back for 2018, his $5.15 million base salary would then be guaranteed too.
“There’s some guys there that they’ve brought in and some guys that already were capable,” Murray said, alluding first to recently signed offensive tackles Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers. “Any year is a new year. You have to go in and put the work in, so we’ll all get a crack at this thing.”
The Vikings were last in the NFL in 2016 with 3.2 yards per rush and 75.3 yards rushing per game.
n The Oakland Raiders signed free-agent tight end Jared Cook on Thursday. Cook helps upgrade a position group that already includes Clive Walford and Lee Smith as the Raiders look to build on last season’s 12-4 record that ended a 13-year playoff drought. NFL Network first reported the deal with Cook and said it is worth $12.2 million over two years with $5 million guaranteed in the first year.
Cook had 30 catches for 377 yards and one touchdown last season when he missed six games with an ankle injury. His biggest play came on a 36-yard catch that set up a last-second, game-winning field goal in Green Bay’s 34-31 playoff win over Dallas. Cook had 18 catches for 229 yards and two scores in three playoff games. In eight NFL seasons with Tennessee, St. Louis and Green Bay, Cook has 303 catches for 3,880 yards and 17 TDs.
n The Dallas Cowboys re-signed veteran running back Darren McFadden and guard Jonathan Cooper. McFadden will go into his 10th NFL season as a backup to Ezekiel Elliott, who has the league’s leading rushing as a rookie last season. Cooper gives depth on the offensive line that lost Ron Leary to Denver in free agency. The Cowboys made the moves Thursday, when running back Lance Dunbar left Dallas for a free-agent deal with the Los Angeles Rams and cornerback Brandon Carr signed for a four-year deal with the Baltimore Ravens.
The seventh overall pick in 2013 by Arizona, Cooper missed his rookie season after breaking a leg in the preseason. He started 11 of 24 games over the next two seasons with the Cardinals before getting traded to New England last year.
n The Los Angeles Rams signed linebacker Connor Barwin. He spent the past four seasons with the Eagles, starting all 64 regular-season games. He made the 2014 Pro Bowl after recording 15 sacks.
n Free agent guard Jermon Bushrod has re-signed with the Miami Dolphins after starting all 16 games for them last season. Bushrod was part of a unit that helped Miami reach the playoffs for the first time since 2008. He blocked for running back Jay Ajayi, who rushed for 1,272 yards, third most in a single season in Dolphins history.
n A person with knowledge of the hiring tells The Associated Press that the NFL is adding a second female official, Terri Valenti, to work as a replay booth assistant next season. Valenti will join Sarah Thomas, who has been a line judge since 2015. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the league has not announced the hiring.
The Sporting News first reported Valenti’s addition to the NFL’s officiating ranks. Valenti previously worked in college football, the Arena League and the UFL, which no longer is in business. She has also been a Navy engineer and economics professor.