If you played fantasy football in the early 2010s, you’re definitely familiar with Adrian Peterson. During his time with the Minnesota Vikings, the running back established himself as one of the NFL’s most dynamic offensive talents. As you might assume, that also helped him take home more than $100 million during his professional career.
For all of that on-field success, though, Peterson isn’t sitting on a massive fortune. In fact, the running back trusted the wrong people and has ended up with a negative $4 million net worth.
Adrian Peterson established himself as a top NFL running back
RELATED: Adrian Peterson Eyeing Surpassing Barry Sanders in NFL Record BooksTerrell Owens Lost Almost $80 Million Following a String of Bad Decisions
In today’s NFL, few offenses are built around a franchise running back. During his prime, however, Adrian Peterson seemed capable of putting an entire team on his back.
After a dominant high school career and three strong seasons at the University of Oklahoma, Peterson entered the 2007 NFL draft. The Minnesota Vikings snagged the running back with the seventh overall pick and immediately handed him the keys to the offense. Peterson promptly proved that the team made the right decision.
The running back posted 1,341 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns during his first year in the pros, cruising to Offensive Rookie of the Year honors; Peterson immediately followed that up with a 1,760-yard sophomore campaign. He peaked, however in 2012, rushing for 2,097 yards and 12 touchdowns en route to the Offensive Player of the Year and NFL MVP titles.
That season, however, proved to be Peterson’s peak. After a solid 2013 campaign, the running back missed most of 2014 after hitting his son with a switch; he returned to action in 2015, but then spent the majority of 2016 on the sidelines with a torn meniscus. That injury proved to be the end of his time with the Vikings.
After splitting 2017 between Arizona and New Orleans, Peterson found a home with the Washington Redskins. While he’s no longer an elite offensive threat, the running back is still capable of doing a job on Sundays.
Making more than $100 million as a top offensive talent
During his prime, Adrian Peterson was one of the top offensive threats in the NFL. Understandably, that helped the running back take home a pretty sizable salary.
According to Spotrac’s financial data, the running back has earned almost $102 million during his time in the pros. The vast majority of that money came during All Day’s time with the Vikings; between entering the league as a first-round pick and posting league MVP-quality numbers, he took home almost $95 million during his time in Minnesota.
In recent years, however, Peterson’s status and, in turn, salary, has deceased. During the 2017 season, which he spent with the Saints and Cardinals organizations, he made $3.5 million. He’s earned approximately $2.5 million during his time with the Redskins; this season, he’s playing on a club option with a base salary of $2.25 million before bonuses.
Adrian Peterson still ended up with a negative $4 million net worth
Despite that earning power, Adrian Peterson hasn’t found himself in the best financial shape. In an all too familiar tale, the running back trusted the wrong people, landing himself in a tough spot.
As Daniel Kaplan reported for The Athletic in July 2019, the running back’s massive salary hasn’t been enough to keep him out of debt.
“A Pennsylvania lender is suing Peterson for allegedly defaulting on a $5.2 million loan, the proceeds of which he used to pay back other debts he incurred, including millions from a “pay-day lender,” court documents in New York show,” Kaplan wrote. “The sum, which with interest and legal fees is now $6.6 million, is separate from the $2.4 million a Maryland state judge last week ordered Peterson to pay another creditor — Democracy Capital Corp. In 2018, a Minnesota court ordered him to pay $600,000 left unpaid on a $2.4 million loan.”
Shortly after the story broke, Peterson’s lawyer, Chase Carlson, issued a statement on Twitter. It seems like the running back, like many other pro athletes, found himself following bad financial advice from those in his inner circle.
“The truth behind Adrian Peterson’s current financial situation is more than is being reported at this time,” Carlson explained. “Because of ongoing legal matters, I am unable to go into detail, but I will say this is yet another situation of an athlete trusting the wrong people and being taken advantage of by those he trusted. Adrian and his family look forward to sharing further details when appropriate.”
Today, CelebrityNetWorth estimates Adrian Peterson’s fortune at negative $4 million. Unfortunately, he’s another case on-field success failing to carry over to their finances.
Stats courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference