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NFL Notebook

Vikings finally get Peterson in the fold

ADRIAN PETERSON Five years, $40.5m ADRIAN PETERSON Five years, $40.5m

Running back Adrian Peterson agreed to terms with the Minnesota Vikings yesterday, ending the seventh overall draft pick's three-day holdout.

Peterson signed a five-year, $40.5 million deal with $17 million in guaranteed money and is expected to be in pads for the team's practice this morning, meaning he will have missed five training camp sessions.

The Vikings are looking for Peterson to infuse an offense with some much-needed balance. Last year's unit set franchise lows for first downs and touchdown passes, while opposing defenses stacked the box to try to stop Minnesota's only real threat, running back Chester Taylor.

Now Taylor, who rushed for 1,214 yards last season but wore down late in the year as he approached 300 carries, has some help in what could be one of the league's best backfield tandems.

At 6 feet 1 inch and 220 pounds, Peterson has a rare combination of size and blazing speed. He rushed for 4,045 yards in three years at Oklahoma despite missing seven games last season with collarbone and ankle injuries. He also was slowed by injuries for much of his sophomore season.

The Vikings have conducted extensive medical testing on Peterson's collarbone and determined this spring that he did not need surgery. Coach Brad Childress and team doctors have said he would be ready for full contact by training camp, and now Peterson will get the chance to show it.

Bears deal for Walker
The Bears acquired defensive tackle Darwin Walker in a trade with Buffalo, landing a veteran to replace Tank Johnson.

The Bills, who acquired a draft pick in return, dropped a player who refused to report to the team in a contract dispute. The Bills obtained Walker in March in a trade that sent linebacker Takeo Spikes and backup quarterback Kelly Holcomb to Philadelphia.

Walker, however, refused to report until the team renegotiated the remaining two years on his contract. He was scheduled to make $1.3 million this year and $1.4 million in 2008.

General manager Marv Levy said the draft pick the Bills receive will depend on Walker's playing time in Chicago this season.

The Bills would've been forced to return Walker to Philadelphia in exchange for a sixth-round pick if the player had not reported by Aug. 5.

Walker's agent, Albert Irby, said his client was eager to join the Bears and planned to negotiate a new contract.

Jaguars sign Couch
Former No. 1 draft pick Tim Couch signed a two-year contract with the Jaguars, getting a chance to revive his career as a backup to quarterback Byron Leftwich. Couch, the top pick by Cleveland in 1999, hasn't played a down in the NFL since a 2004 exhibition game. The contract, which did not include a signing bonus, will pay Couch the veteran minimum of $595,000 this season if he makes the team. He would earn slightly more in 2008 . . . The 49ers signed top draft pick Patrick Willis to a five-year deal and had the linebacker practicing yesterday. Willis's deal has a maximum value of $16.7 million with $12 million in guaranteed money . . . The Broncos re-signed defensive lineman Kenny Peterson, a day after releasing him, because defensive end Carlos Hall failed to report to camp. Peterson is facing a four-game suspension for violating the league's policy on steroids and related substances . . . With Michael Strahan holding out and considering retirement, the Giants plan to give recently released defensive end Simeon Rice a physical Wednesday. Rice, whose 121 career sacks rank second to Strahan (132 1/2) among active players, was released by Tampa Bay last week after the Buccaneers signed first-round draft pick Gaines Adams . . . Jim David, a six-time Pro Bowl defensive back who won three NFL championships with the Lions, died yesterday at his home in Allen Park, Mich., after a long illness. He was 79. Chosen in the 22d round of the 1952 NFL draft, David was a starter at left cornerback during seven of his eight seasons. The Lions won NFL titles in 1952, '53, and '57. He ranks fifth on the Lions' career interceptions list with 36. Obituary, Page B5.