Brace Hemmelgarn / USA TODAY Sports

Adrian Peterson’s time in Minnesota may be coming to an end

The Vikings will not exercise the $18-million option on the star running back’s contract, making him an unrestricted free agent when the new league year opens March 9, the team announced Tuesday.

It was only ever a matter of time before Minnesota made the move official, as the chances of the team keeping an aging running back under contract at such a significant cap number were slim, at best.

“It’s been a great 10 years with the Minnesota Vikings,” Peterson told ESPN’s Josina Anderson. “They know what I bring to the organization as a player, with my work ethic and dedication. I spoke with 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.”

The two sides could conceivably attempt to work out a more reasonable deal over the next week, but all indications are that Peterson will have the opportunity to test free agency.

It remains to be seen whether the 31-year-old will find any sort of lucrative market for his services.

Coming off a 2016 campaign in which knee issues limited him to just three games, and a pedestrian 1.9 yards per carry, health will certainly be a concern for teams interested in Peterson.

At the same time, the future Hall of Famer has long proven to be a rare breed, and he’s only one year removed from a season in which he racked up 1,485 yards and 11 touchdowns while starting all 16 games.

Peterson has taken 2,418 carries for 11,747 yards and 97 touchdowns since landing with the Vikings as a first-round pick in 2007, making him the all-time franchise leader in every major rushing category by a wide margin.

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