There was a time when teams were frightened to hand over large amounts of guaranteed money to running backs. Even great ones. There were exceptions, of course, but in general the rule was that runners were too easily injured, too fragile, too replaceable.
Frank Gore recently signed a three-year extension with $13 million guaranteed. That's the kind of moderate guaranteed money most runners get. Nothing crazy. Nothing obscene. Particularly ones with injury histories like Gore.
Adrian Peterson signed a new seven-year deal and while I could not confirm the exact numbers reported by the website Profootballtalk.com -- $100 million total, $36 million guaranteed -- it is clear Peterson has been given a deal that includes a massive amount of guaranteed cash. One source close to the signing said it's among the most guaranteed money a runner has signed in recent years (the source would not confirm the amount of money Peterson got).
Is it a risk? Hell, yeah, it is. But it's also a sign. NFL teams, with higher salary cap numbers, awash in cash, and fully aware there will be labor peace for a decade, are willing to take more risks with guaranteed money. We just saw Chris Johnson sign a deal that got him $31 million guaranteed dollars.
Peterson has earned the trust of the Vikings and is so relentless and proficient the Vikings figure it's well worth the risk.
This isn't a seismic shift but it's significant.