EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. —
The bruising blocking by Felton and a young offensive line on which none of the five starters missed a game had a lot to do with Peterson’s success. After signing a one-year contract for a $700,000 salary, Felton said he’d rather not have to test the market again. He told general manager Rick Spielman as much on Monday.
“This is where I want to be,” Felton said. “I told him that I want it to get done.”
Right tackle Phil Loadholt is another one of the important players with expiring contracts.
“I’m going to keep my arms around him this offseason as well, just to make sure he’s staying on top of his game and he’s working out and he’s doing the necessary things to make someone want to bring you back,” Peterson said.
There are other positions that will be scrutinized this spring as the Vikings reshape their roster, with changes likely at least at wide receiver and linebacker. Quarterback Christian Ponder isn’t going anywhere, but more improvement is mandatory after another up-and-down year. He said his decisions in the Dec. 2 game at Green Bay when he threw two devastating interceptions were the moments that still stung.
“To let my team down, that’s what hurt the most,” Ponder said.
Last week was painful, too, when a deep bruise in his triceps from a hit he took in the Dec. 30 win over the Packers prevented him from playing in the rematch at Lambeau Field on Saturday. His right arm was still badly discolored from the bruising on Monday. The flexibility and range of motion around the muscle was still returning.
“No surgery or anything,” Ponder said. “Just giving it some time, and it will get there.”
The Vikings, like most teams, expressed impatience with their development, even though this season by all accounts went ahead of the rebuilding schedule. They weren’t willing to merely accept more steady progress, realizing the way the open-then-shut windows of championship opportunity usually work in the NFL.