Photo: Sam Greenwood (Getty)

Despite being by far the highest-paid running back in the history of the NFL, Washington’s Adrian Peterson appears to be deep in debt. That’s according to a report by The Athletic today that made public the details of an August 2018 lawsuit against Peterson, which, coupled with two other past cases that have gone against the former MVP, paint a dire financial picture.

The first sign that something was wrong with Peterson’s finances came in February 2018, when Peterson was ordered by a Minnesota court to pay $600,000 to Crown Bank. Peterson had taken out a $2.4 million loan from the lender in May 2016 to refinance other debts. But when he injured his knee later that year, and the Vikings decided to make him a free agent rather than pay the $18 million he would have been owed for the 2017 season, Peterson defaulted on the loan.

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That injured knee, and the consequential loss of that huge payday, appears to have affected Peterson’s ability to pay off other loans as well. Just a few weeks ago, Peterson was ordered by a Maryland court to pay $2.4 million to Democracy Capital Corporation, a Bethesda-based lender that let a business Peterson owned borrow $4 million in April 2016. Adding to those judgements, the August 2018 lawsuit that The Athletic uncovered, filed in New York Supreme Court, is asking for $6.6 million, including interest and legal fees.

According to the lawsuit, Peterson borrowed $5.2 million from DeAngelo Vehicle Sales (not a car company) in October 2016. According to exhibits in the court documents, Peterson took $3.1 million of that loan and used it to pay back a lender called Thrivest Specialty Funding, and he gave $1.3 million to his loan with Crown Bank. According to the lawsuit, Peterson was supposed to pay back DVS by March 1, 2017, but the lawsuit says he has so far failed to give them any of the amount he owes.

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As part of the lawsuit, Peterson was supposed to give a deposition on Monday, but the judge in the case canceled it because of a conflict of interest claim by Peterson’s lawyer. Because DVS fought on behalf of Peterson to collect an insurance claim for his injured knee, the running back’s attorney says that they had access to confidential financial information prior to the lawsuit.

Peterson has made nearly $100 million over his career, but in recent years, his annual earnings have declined significantly. According to Spotrac, the running back made as much as $20.5 million in 2011, and made $12 million as recently as 2016. But last year in Washington, he made just $1 million. Peterson played all 16 games with Washington in 2018 and rushed for over 1,000 yards for the first time since 2015. Speaking to TMZ back in February, Peterson claimed that he saw himself playing in the NFL for “maybe two or three more years.”

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DVS’s lawsuit against Peterson is embedded below.